Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs in Smoky Tomato Sauce
A queso-filled version of albóndigas, these hearty mouthfuls are top-notch party food. Be gentle when forming the meatballs to ensure they remain tender.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 5 ounces smoked Idiazábal cheese cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- MEATBALLS: Combine beef, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, milk, smoked paprika, and salt in a bowl. Using your hands, gently mix all ingredients to incorporate. Shape mixture into 2 tablespoon–size balls. Poke a hole in each ball and insert 1 cheese cube. Re-form meatballs to seal in cheese. Refrigerate meatballs for 30 minutes.
- Warm olive oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat. Sear meatballs, in batches if necessary, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total (they will not be cooked through). Transfer meatballs to a platter and set aside; do not wipe out skillet.
- SAUCE: Add olive oil to same pan used for the meatballs. Once oil is warm, add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add paprika, anchovy paste, and sugar, stirring to combine. Cook for 1 minute, then add wine, stirring quickly to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil.
- Add meatballs to sauce and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.