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Stuffed Meatballs

Even Nonna would approve of these authentic Italian meatballs. Made with lean Ontario ground veal and simmered in a rustic tomato sauce they feature a deliciously decadent centre of melted bocconcini cheese.

 1 28 oz (796 mL) can whole plum tomatoes
 2 garlic cloves, chopped
 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
 1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil
 1 ½ tsp (7 mL) salt, divided
 1 ½ tsp (7 mL) salt, divided
 ¼ cup (50 mL) milk
 1 egg, lightly beaten
 1 lb (500 g) Ontario ground veal
 1 cup (250 mL) coarsely grated onion
 ¼ cup (50 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
 ¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
 ¼ tsp (1 mL) dried hot red pepper flakes
 8 cocktail sized pieces, bocconcini cheese
 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

Pulse tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until chopped. In a large heavy saucepan over medium low heat, simmer tomatoes with garlic, oregano, basil and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl combine breadcrumbs, milk and egg. Let stand 5 minutes. Add veal, onion, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes and remaining salt and gently combine with your hands (do not over mix). Form into 8 large meatballs, inserting a whole piece of bocconcini into the center of each making sure there is no room for the cheese to escape.


Brush each meatball with oil and arrange on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the centre of a 400 F (200 C) oven until golden, about 15 minutes.


Using tongs, gently transfer cooked meatballs to saucepan with sauce. Simmer meatballs in sauce until cooked through and flavours have combined, about 15 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes then serve.

Cook's Notes:

Makes 4 servings