Meatballs and tender pasta, with the flavors of pizza. This easy, comfort food dinner recipe for Meatballs a la Pizzaiola will become a family favorite! 

The thing about my dad and I is that we kind of grew up together. He was young when he had me and played his hand the best he could. The best part about this (besides having a dad who loved K’nex just as much as me) was that I grew up knowing his friends, who I now consider my friends. They are also somewhat like a pack big brother’s who I know I could call on for anything if I needed to.

A few weeks ago, a friend of the family had us all over for dinner. It was kind of a thank you dinner for watching his dog a while back, and kind of just a nice family dinner. It was awesome. Homemade sauce that had been simmering all day, meatballs, sausage and all the fixings. The kind of Sunday meal that I think of when I think of family. We talked, sat on the deck and watched the horses and dog (I saw my first hummingbird!) and just relaxed. Sure, dad was cranky because he was missing the baseball game on the TV, but life goes on.

I decided that these ‘Sunday night suppers’ shouldn’t be so infrequent and that I am just going to start inviting family and friends over more often for supper. Simple as that – until I have to do all the dishes. 😉


Meatballs and tender pasta, with the flavors of pizza. This easy, comfort food dinner recipe for Meatballs a la Pizzaiola will become a family favorite!  \\


Meatballs a la Pizzaiola

from Food Network Magazine March 2011


  • Meatballs and tender pasta, with the flavors of pizza. This easy, comfort food dinner recipe for Meatballs a la Pizzaiola will become a family favorite!  \\ PassTheSushi.com8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large shallows, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 3/4 teas red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef chuck
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • Olive Oil, for frying
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Dive the smoked mozzarella into 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, shredded mozzarella, parmesan, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teas salt and 1/2 teas pepper until blended. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. add the beef and pork and, using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until combined. Form into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Insert smoked mozzarella into the center of each meatball and form the meat around it, enclosing the cheese.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, pour equal parts olive oil and vegetable oil to fill the pan halfway. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350 degrees F. In batches, fry meatballs until dark brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Place the fried meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Put in the oven and bake until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then serve immediately.


Meatballs and tender pasta, with the flavors of pizza. This easy, comfort food dinner recipe for Meatballs a la Pizzaiola will become a family favorite!  \\

I omitted stuffing the meatballs with cheese (though honestly, I can’t remember why) and added some diced pepperoni to the meat mixture.



  1. This looks {and sounds} so delicious Kita! I love cheese stuffed… well anything! Making this recipe over the weekend with my girls! 🙂

  2. This looks so good. I agree that this is a family comfort meal. I can’t believe you are just now seeing your first hummingbird! Crazy.

    I hope I did your burger justice. We really enjoyed them, especially the slaw. I love to use sesame oil because it packs so much flavor in just a tiny amount.

    By the way, I saw that you were a comic book store manager. My husband is a junkie of “graphic novels” as he likes to call them and is interested in writing one of his own. Would you happen to know of any illustrators or be able to connect us with someone?

    Thanks again for another great recipe (:

    1. I would happily give your husband some pointers. I think it’s awesome that he wants to write his own comic. If you don’t mind, have him email me any details he can and I and my staff will see what we can come up with for you.

  3. Now this is what I call a comfort meal! So sweet of you to have your family over for this amazing dinner – something I need to do more with my own family =)

  4. I love those Sunday night family dinners!!

  5. I saw these in the magazine and loved it! I am so happy that you made this dish because it looks even better out of the magazine and up here in your own photos. Love it!

  6. Truly a family meal…I love reading about your relationship with your dad. My little girl misses her dad all the time (he works out of the country). An idea came upon me, I will be trying your recipe and we can have a video phone family dinner…

    1. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for a little girl to have her father so far away. You both must be such strong women. I think a video dinner would be perfect – nothing brings a family together like food – even when you may be miles apart.

  7. That’s a holy cow kinda dish you have sitting there. The depth of the sauce is evidenced by how gorgeous the color is and I love the combination of the beef and pork in the meatballs.

    I love hearing about your Dad because I’m a daddy’s girl as well. How cool that you still are able to do stuff like that with him (mine lives 800 miles away…my bad for moving). You just really saw your first hummingbird? Aren’t they awesome?

  8. I hear ya. It was kind of the same with my Dad. I mean he was 25 when my mom had me, which is younger than I am right now! Hard to imagine. I feel the same way though, his friends are like another pack of Dad’s or Brother’s to me. It is good to have that many people in your extended family.

    Your dish looks great! Such a hearty meal that would definitely be something that I would make. Have a great weekend Kita!

  9. Stephanie says:

    great post, Kita! Pasta reminds me of Sunday dinners with my family too! This looks like the perfect meal to me!!

  10. Mmmm meatballs are one of my favorite comfort foods, love your recipe Kita!! 🙂

  11. This is a great weeknight meal. Meatballs are great in sandwiches as well as pasta. Neat idea at the end-diced pepperoni. Nice pictures and great post!

  12. Mmmm, can you ever go wrong with meatballs?? These look amazing!

    That’s cool that you and your dad are able to connect that way. 🙂

  13. Your relationship with your dad and his friends sounds wonderful! And this would be a perfect meal to serve to such a gathering.

  14. These meatballs look so good. Perfect for a Sunday night supper with friends and family. 🙂

  15. No need to stuff the meatballs w/cheese, they look lovely the way they are!
    I watched my husband ‘grow up’ w/our first daughter too. Very sweet 🙂

  16. I think as long as you have someone else to do the dishes, you’re golden! And who knows, men are known to do strange things if your food is good enough 🙂

  17. Pepperchef says:

    Please proof read your recipes before publishing. ” Insert 1 cup smoked mozzarella into the center of each meatball…” “equal parks olive oil and vegetable pol” For God’s sake, my grammar is not always perfect, but at least I take a look at even an email before I send it let alone publishing something in a blog for the world to read.

    1. The job of editor is open and available at Pass the Sushi. It doesn’t pay and is rather thankless, but feel free to apply.

  18. Gurrrrrlie! Those look deeeeeelish. I’m on a fall meatball kick and will totally try your recipe. I love the idea of pepperoni in the meat mixture. Kudosssss… 🙂

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