Caprese Meatballs

Sure to be a hit at your next party, these meatballs have a surprise hidden inside. Melted mozzarella cheese oozing from each meatball makes them impossible to decline. Pesto added to the meatballs really drives home great basil flavor, and the marinara sauce completes the trio of flavors .

TOTAL TIME: 6 hr 45 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 6 hr 20 min
 
YIELD: 12 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 cups Classic Tomato Basil Sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
CLASSIC TOMATO BASIL SAUCE:
  • 4 pounds ripe plum tomatoes or two 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, such as Organic Muir Glen
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
recipe tools

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, pesto, salt, pepper and egg in a large mixing bowl with your hands, taking care to not overwork the meat. Form golf ball-size meatballs (about 24) and stuff each with 1 mozzarella cube. Evenly space the meatballs on the baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown, 15 minutes.

Add the Classic Tomato Basil Sauce and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Transfer the meatballs to slow cooker, cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.

Allow the meatballs to cool slightly before serving, and adjust with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Cut an "X" in the bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer the tomatoes with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool, then peel, seed and chop.

Cook the garlic in the oil in a small, heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and add the fresh basil. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Yield: 6 cups.
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