Another great finalist from the 2005 National Beef Cookoff.
- Contributed by Catsrecipes Y-Group
- Source : The Beef Bytes Mailer
- Servings: Serves 4 – 6
- 1½ lbs lean ground beef
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 12 small balls fresh mozzarella cheese (about ⅓ oz each)
- 1 jar (25 – 26 oz) spicy red pepper pasta sauce or other pasta sauce
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano 
- hot cooked spaghetti rigati or linguine
- fresh oregano sprigs (optional)
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Combine ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped oregano, salt and pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly.
- Divide mixture into 12 equal portions.
- Lightly shape into patties.
- Place 1 mozzarella ball in center of each patty.
- Shape beef around cheese until completely enclosed inside forming meatballs.
- Place meatballs on aluminum-foil-lined 15 x 10-inch baking pan.
- Bake in 400°F oven 15 to 20 minutes to medium (160°F) doneness, until not pink in center and juices show no pink color.
- Meanwhile heat pasta sauce in large saucepan until hot, stirring occasionally.
- Add meatballs and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Spoon meatballs and sauce onto pasta.
- Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped oregano.
- Garnish with oregano sprigs, if desired.
- ↑ Dried oregano leaves may be substituted for fresh. Use 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves in meatball mixture. Add 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves to pasta sauce before heating.
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