Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Hero
by Alex Sazama, Chef, Swig Restaurant, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Makes 8 appetizer-sized sandwiches or 4 regular sandwiches
- 1 pound ground Smart Chicken
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 8 pieces fresh baby mozzarella
- Sliced hoagie roll for serving
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine all ingredients except the mozzarella and hoagie roll; mix together until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Form 2- to 3-ounce meatballs with the chicken mixture. Take the mozzarella one piece at a time and form the chicken meatballs around the mozzarella, making sure each is sealed well. Place meatballs on a lightly greased rimmed sheet pan and bake in the oven until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (about 20 minutes).
Place the meatballs on a sliced hoagie roll and top with pomodoro sauce (recipe follows) and shredded mozzarella. Place back in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes until bread is crispy and cheese is melted.
- Pomodoro Sauce
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
- 2½ teaspoons sugar
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 small bunch fresh basil, thinly sliced
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and basil, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened slightly (about 15 minutes). Stir in sugar and season with salt to taste.