Anna Maria’s Baked Stuffed Meatballs from Rich Ansara

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Bring a recipe from Hanover Street home, thanks to chef Rich Ansara at Tresca. In his take on the Italian staple, he soaks breadcrumbs in pureed marinara sauce prior to working it into the meat mixture — which is half ground chuck and half ground veal — then stuffs chopped onions and cherry-sized mozzarella balls inside before baking. This technique makes for a moist, full flavor meatball that’s super cheesy and aromatic. Serve with crusty focaccia to help soak up some extra sauce.


  • 1 cup fine Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup pureed marinara sauce
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 ounces grated grana parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces whole onion, pureed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 ounces Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 16-20 Ciliegine mozzarella, cherry size
  • 4 ounces Cipollini onions, chopped
  • 4 ounces roasted red or yellow peppers, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Soak the breadcrumbs in the marinara puree for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add the ground chuck, ground veal, eggs, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, onion, parsley, oregano, black pepper, salt, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Mix ingredients together by hand until all ingredients are blended well.
  4. Apply a bit of olive oil to your hand and start rolling the meatball mixture into 4 ounce balls.
  5. After all the meatballs have been rolled, make an indentation with your thumb about halfway in to individually stuff each meatball.
  6. Place one mozzarella ball into the indentation followed by a pinch of the onions and then a pinch of the roasted peppers. Push the stuffing halfway in and close the meatball by pinching the meat together and rolling until smooth. Repeat for the remaining meatballs.
  7. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet (sprayed with cooking spray) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with your favorite tomato sauce and grilled crusty bread.

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