Barbecue Pork Meatballs are a favorite in our house, although my 5-year old will call me out if I make the sauce too spicy (seriously, how tomato sauce, brown sugar and mustard can be spicy is beyond me…but we all know how “testy” those young palates can be).
Staring at a pound of ground pork in the fridge the other day, I thought I’d try my hand at another version of those meatballs. Something with a completely different flavor. Like the way a “spaghetti and meatballs” meatball tastes, but without the spaghetti. And not at all like spaghetti and meatballs.
So, with fresh basil, shredded mozzarella and an unfinished can of tomato paste in the fridge, the flavor direction came together nicely.
I used ground pork in these Baked Italian Meatballs because that’s what I happened to have already thawed in my fridge. You could also make these with ground beef or turkey, or even with meatloaf blend (pork/veal/beef). Whatever floats your boat!
Also, if you don’t have oats on hand, you can use Italian bread crumbs, panko or even stale bread ripped into tiny pieces.
AND, if you’re looking for a good party recipe, these (or the Barbecue Pork Meatballs) would be great baked in a mini muffin tin, and served via toothpicks. They’d probably only take about 20 minutes to cook at the mini size.
- 1 pound ground pork
- ¼ cup oats
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat the inside of a 6-spot muffin tin with non-stick spray or with butter.
- Combine the pork, oats, egg, ⅛ cup tomato paste, basil, ½ cup mozzarella, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix it well!
- Form the pork mixture into 6 meatballs and place one in each spot of the muffin tin. Top them with the remaining tomato paste and mozzarella.
- Bake the Italian meatballs for 30 minutes, and let them rest for 5 minutes in the tin before removing them to eat.