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Page-Turning Stuffed Pork Meatballs

Give everyone's favorite Italian dish a spin at your next book club with tangy romesco
46 Ratings
100% would make again

Meatballs: Much like a runaway best seller, they’re always a crowd–pleaser.

So for your next book club, give the classic a twist with herb–flecked pork meatballs with green olives and a tangy, roasted red pepper–based romesco sauce (check out the video above for more ideas).

The key to meatball success is not over–mixing the meat as you're making them. It might be tempting, but this ensures the end result will be soft and tender. And, much like a gripping plot twist, a surprise sauce is the best ending of all. For easy prep, use a food processor to mix all the ingredients, then bake all together.

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Stuffed Pork Meatballs with Romesco Sauce

Recipe from the National Pork Board

Yield: 40 meatballs

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

1½ pounds lean ground pork  

Vegetable oil, for greasing the baking sheet

¾ cup plain dried bread crumbs

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)

2 teaspoons dried parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably smoked paprika)

2 garlic cloves, minced

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

40 red pepper-stuffed green olives (not large)

40 wooden toothpicks or bamboo cocktail spears, for serving

For the romesco sauce:

1 large garlic clove, crushed under a knife and peeled

2 drained jarred roasted red bell peppers

¼ cup sliced natural almonds

2 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably smoked paprika)

½ teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Make the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs, egg, sherry, parsley, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the ground pork and mix thoroughly but gently with your hands. Using about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture for each, shape into 40 meatballs. Stuff an olive into the center of each meatball then completely enclose the olive.

3. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and continue baking until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the romesco: In a food processor, mince the garlic. Stop the machine and add the red peppers, almonds, vinegar, paprika, oregano and salt. Pulse about 10 times until minced. With the processor running, slowly pour in the oil. Transfer to a serving bowl. Makes about 1¼ cups of sauce. (Note: the romesco can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

5. Transfer the meatballs to a serving platter. Spear with toothpicks and serve hot with the romesco sauce for dipping.

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