Mozzarella-filled meatballs with pasta salad

For the meatballs:
  • 500g fresh ground beef
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • a handful of fresh thyme and oregano
  • a handful of breadcrumbs*
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepperoncino
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella di bufala (ca 150g), diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • water in over-proof glass**

For the salad:
  • 150g fresh or dry fussilli
  • Lamb's lettuce/songino
  • Red chicory leaves /chioggia
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Extra virgin olive oil

*I crumble this from a 4-day-old corn-and-sunflower loaf
**I put this inside the oven while I broil/bake the meatballs to keep it moist and tender
This makes about 8-10 meatballs.
For the salad:
  • Boil the pasta according to instructions. After draining, keep the pasta in the sieve as you add a dash of olive oil and mayonnaise so the pasta is evenly coated in the mixture.
  • Toss the pasta together with the tomatoes and salad leaves.
  • Set aside until the meatballs are ready.

For the meatballs:
  • In a bowl, and using your hands, mix well the ground beef, garlic, thyme, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, pepperoncino, salt and pepper. 
  • Take a chunk of the meatball mixture and flatten it against one palm of the hand. 
  • Place one piece of the mozzarella and close the meatball.
  • Do this for the rest of the mixture.
  • Heat the oven to 180C.
  • Put a frying pan over high fire and when the surface is hot, add olive oil.
  • "Seal" the meatballs by browning it on all sides and put the browned meatballs in a Pyrex/oven-proof dish that has been brushed with olive oil.
  • Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes on one side at 180C, then turn them over and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  • Don't forget to put a glass of water in the oven while the meatballs are baking - this keeps moisture in the oven.
  • When done, take the meatballs out and serve with pasta salad. 
  • Squeeze lemon on the meatballs and salad.
  • Buon apetito!