Risoni Meatball Bake

There’s not much that can’t be improved by the addition of some meatballs.  And when the meatballs are stuffed with gooey mozzarella cheese it’s even better!

I came across this recipe in a newspaper and it has immediately become a meal I will make over and over.  So easy and very, very tasty…

The meatballs are prepared and browned all over first and taken out of the pan.  Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and pop the meatballs back in.  Thirty minutes later you have the most delicious dish.  All it needs is some garlic bread or a green salad to serve with it..

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Ingredients:

50g mozzarella cheese

2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves picked and finely chopped

1 sprig of fresh rosemary left whole

600g of pork & veal mince

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1 lightly beaten egg

¾ cup panko crumbs or fresh breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium brown onion chopped

1½ cups chicken stock

2 x 410g cans of tomatoes & paste (Ardmona brand is excellent)

1 teaspoon sugar (the sugar takes the tartness from the tomatoes and gives a lovely flavour)

¾ cup dried risoni pasta

grated Parmesan cheese and oregano leaves to serve

Method:

Cut the mozzarella into 8 even sized pieces

Combine the mince, garlic, finely chopped rosemary, oregano, egg and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Using your hands, mix well

Season with salt & pepper

Roughly divide into eight balls and flatten each one to form a disc

Place a piece of cheese on each disc and roll up to make a ball

(At this stage these can be placed on a baking paper-lined tray and refrigerated for use later if required)

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 190/170c fan-forced.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy based flameproof roasting pan over a medium high heat

Cook the meatballs, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned all over

Transfer to a plate

Heat remaining oil and add the onions

Cook for 5 minutes or so until softened

Add remaining rosemary sprig, chicken stock and tomatoes

Bring to the boil and add the risoni

Stir well and add salt & pepper & sugar to taste

Return the meatballs to the pan and gently stir to coat them in the sauce

Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring gently about halfway though cooking, or until the risoni is tender and the meatballs are cooked through.

Discard rosemary sprig

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and oregano leaves

Bon Appétit!  🙂

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