I don’t do nearly as much savory baking as I do sweet and I am always interested in what others are creating. These, my friends, are inspired. While I always say follow a recipe to the letter the first time you make it, I was immediately thinking about variations: adding or subbing in Romano or Asiago cheese; doing a veal, beef, pork blend meatball; you get the idea.
These are from Libbie Summers’ bright, brash and wonderful book Sweet and Vicious: Baking with Attitude. The book is packed with cookies, pies, cakes – even dog biscuits, all in Libbie’s singular style. Check out her pie crust hacks that she refers to as Guerrilla Pie Decorating.
Excerpted with permission. Sweet and Vicious: Baking with Attitude by Libby Summers. Rizzoli 2014 copyright. Photos by Chia Chong.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ cup ricotta
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon onion salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 2⁄3 cup prepared marinara sauce (one with lots of garlic and herbs), plus more for dipping
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil and oregano, or whatever you have handy
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Make the down and dirty meatballs: Preheat the oven to 350° 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, ¼ 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.
- Wrap Meatball Muffins in plastic wrap or keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they will last for up to 5 days. Bring the muffins to room temperature before eating. My husband and son like these better at room temperature than warm, whereas I like them warm. Sometimes I wonder if we really are related.