Cheesy Surprise Meatballs with Linguini and Marinara

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While eating breakfast yesterday, my daughter made a very random food request for dinner, which is a rarity.  If you’ll indulge a small tangent…  My oldest is 4, almost 5, is a fantastic helper in the kitchen and has grown up surrounded by lots of different kinds of food.  But lately she has hit the “live on air”, “everything is weird”,  “what I liked 2 days ago is now disgusting”, and my personal favorite “I like it, but I’m just not in the mood to eat it right now” phase.  So, when she makes a specific request and it is anywhere in the realm of possibility that I can actually make it, I do.  Perhaps that sounds indulgent, but c’mon, every parent wants their kid to eat!

So back to her food request: “mommy, for dinner tonight, can we have those meatballs with the cheese inside with my favorite pasta you make with my favorite, favorite pizza cheese on top?”  Now, I hope you can feel my inner eye-roll, sigh, and why-couldn’t-she-request-something-easier feelings.  She literally requested a fully, from scratch meal.  Sigh.  But I made it.  And when she began to almost melt down because she decided she wanted the cheese on the side and not on top, she caught herself and proceeded to scarf down an entire bowl of noodles and 2 large meatballs.  And at that moment, it all became worth it.  🙂

To make my life easier, I use my mini chopper/food processor to do ALL the work for me.

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large carrot or 2 small
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1/2 parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C. basil
  • 1/4 C. parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Olive oil and 1 T. butter for pan frying
  • 1 lb. linguini (I use my fresh pasta)
  • Marinara (I use my fresh)

Place meats in a large bowl.  Puree carrots, onions, and garlic and add to meat.

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Place bread into chopper and make bread crumbs and add to mixture:

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Grate parmesan cheese:

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Chop basil and parsley and add to mixture.

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Add milk, egg, salt and pepper.  Combine mixture thoroughly.

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Slice 4 slices of mozzarella cheese. Then cut lengthwise into strips and cube into 1/4 inch cubes.  Add to mixture and combine.

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Place 2 T. of meatball mixture in hand, make sure to carefully tuck the cheese cubes into the center, otherwise it will spill out into your pan during cooking, ruining the surprise.  🙂

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Pan fry meatballs until brown on all sides.  They won’t be cooked through, but that’s okay, they’ll finish cooking in the sauce.  Remove from pan and add sauce, scraping the bottoms to deglaze.  Add meatballs back in.

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Cook pasta to al dente and then add into the sauce and meatballs to finish cooking.

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