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Stuffed Saucy Meatballs and Pasta

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, divided into 12 small balls
  • 1 (25-26 ounce) jar spicy red pepper pasta sauce or your favorite
  • 1 pound cooked spaghetti rigati or linguine
  • Fresh oregano sprigs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, 1 tablespoon oregano, salt and pepper. Mix lightly but thoroughly.
  3. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and shape into patties.
  4. Place one mozzarella ball in center of each patty and mold beef around cheese until completely enclosed, forming meatballs.
  5. Place on 15 x 10-inch baking pan covered with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes until juices run clear.
  6. While baking, heat pasta sauce in large saucepan, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add cooked meatballs and heat for 5 minutes.
  8. Spoon meatballs and sauce on pasta.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining oregano.
  10. Garnish with oregano sprigs if desired.

Serves 4 to 7.

Dried oregano may be substituted for fresh. Use 1 teaspoon dried oregano in meatball mixture and add 1 teaspoon to pasta sauce before heating.