yields 12 muffins
For the down and dirty meatballs:
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
For the muffins:
2/3 cup prepared marinara sauce (one with lots of garlic and herbs), plus more for dipping
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarela cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbsm such as parslet, basil, and oregano, or whatever you have handy
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Make the down and dirty meatballs: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients well using your hands and form into 12 meatballs. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. The meatballs will not be fully cooked. (They will bake again in the muffins). Allow the meatballs to cool on the baking sheet while you prepare the muffin batter. Leave the oven on.
- Make the muffin batter: Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the marinara sauce, eggs, oil, mozzarella, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and the herbs. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the marinara mixture into the flour until completely combined. Fill each muffin tin cup about half full with batter, then place one cooled meatball into the center of the batter with the top of the meatball sticking up. Sprinkle the muffins with the remaining Parmesan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with warm marinara sauce for dipping.
What an interesting concept, this recipe. The only way in which I modified it was to replace the garlic salt with fresh chopped garlic.
Throughout the cooking, I kept checking back with the recipe for instructions and measurements. The meatballs in her pictures looked much smaller to me than those overwhelming my muffins, and so I wanted to be sure I was using the right amount of beef. The muffin batter seemed so dry that I couldn't mix it by hand and had to resort to the stand mixer, which is probably why the muffin portion ended up rather heavy, though the recipe does say to combine completely (I still used the stand mixture as minimally as possible). I also had to press the meatballs down into the rather firm batter and they still seems to just sit on top, whereas those in the book look like they just nicely sank down in.
But all my measurements were correct and in the end although the results were somewhat mixed, I'm happy to have tried these muffins. The flavour was rich, and the combination of meat and carbs in one tidy package was an interesting way of approaching dinner. I do wish that, at least for me, the muffins had been lighter and flakier but I wonder if this can be difficult to achieve, with the meatball stuck in there and all.
Also, each muffin is hearty and filling; unless you've a great appetite and no side salad, one is really enough, so this makes a lot of leftovers. I would consider halving the recipe but the leftovers were great and were welcome to come home to after work.
The meatballs: the meatballs were loved by all. Light and moist. There's an excellent possibility that in the future I will make just the meatball portion of this recipe to enjoy them on their own.