• Thursday, May 28, 2020

Veal and Pancetta Meatballs with Smoked Mozzarella
October 2, 2012

4 oz pancetta, diced small
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 lb. ground veal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup basil
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1lb. smoked mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Even if you didn’t grow up with an Italian grandmother whose meatballs were transcendental, sitting down to a plate of juicy meatballs oozing with cheese and slathered in a light tomato sauce probably makes your mouth water. After a long day at the office, treat your significant other to this dish, and they’ll owe you big time.  

Yield: 4 servings

Cook pancetta in a nonstick sauté pan on medium heat until fat is rendered and pancetta is crispy. Remove pancetta from pan and drain on paper towels.  Remove all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute. 

Add onions, garlic, pancetta, breadcrumbs, and cheese to a medium bowl. Mix well. Add veal and gently mix until combined. Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls.

Preheat oven to 375˚F. In a large nonstick sauté pan on medium heat, melt butter. Add meatballs and cook until they are brown on all sides. Remove from pan and place in a large baking dish.

Add tomatoes and basil to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Purée until smooth, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.  Add sauce to baking dish. Place 1 slice of mozzarella on top of each meatball. 

Bake meatballs 8–10 minutes until cheese has melted and meatballs are just cooked through.

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