While I’ve never been one for meatballs, I am a HUGE fan of goat cheese and portobello mushrooms. I figured if I was going to take a stab at making meatballs I love, I would need to incorporate those two things and boy oh boy, I wasn’t wrong! These guys are packed with flavor and work well with a hearty marinara such as Trader Joe’s Bolognese sauce. They’re also easy to make! While they’re in the oven baking, you will have just enough time to freshen up and open your favorite bottle of red wine before they’re done!
While you can add these to your favorite pasta, they also work well as an appetizer alone. As for the wine pairing, I recommend a Chianti with my favorite go-to being Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva. There’s just something about meatballs and Italian reds that makes my eyes sparkle. Rest assured though, any red you choose will go well!
Enjoy and cheers!
For the meatballs: (yields around 12 meatballs)
- I lb or ground beef
- 1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup of chopped baby bellas or portobello (either works depending on what you have available)
- 1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tbsp of Italian Spice Blend
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tbsp of Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and your chopped baby bellas or portobello to sweat and soften for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. (Be sure your heat is low enough not to burn or brown anything. You’re only looking to soften and open up the flavors.)
- Add the Italian Spice blend. Cook together for 1 minute, so that the aromas of the herbs and spices are released. Remove to a bowl and place in the fridge to cool, so that you’re not combining the hot ingredients with cold meat.
- Meanwhile, crumble your goat cheese if you didn’t buy pre-crumbled (Trader Joes sells it already crumbled for you).
- When the onion/mushroom mixture is cool, combine it in a large bowl with the ground beef, breadcrumbs, goat cheese, egg, and salt. Mix well with your hands.
- Form the meatballs: for each meatball, scoop up about 2 tablespoons of mixture and roll it into a ball shape between your palms. Place individually on your baking sheet (Tip: if you find the meat mix is sticking to your hands, rub a little olive oil on your hands so nothing is sticks.)
- Bake uncovered for approximately 20-25 minutes.
- OPTIONAL: If you choose to serve with your favorite marinara, heat your sauce in a saucepan while your meatballs bake and add your meatballs once they’re done. Allow to sit and simmer on low together for about 5 minutes so that the meatballs can marinate with your sauce.