Grilled Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

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Makes 24 meatballs

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb 93% lean ground beef
1 large egg
2/3 cup fine bread crumbs
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
2 t ground garlic – more if you love garlic
1 1/2 t ground onion
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried parsley
1/4 t ground black pepper
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 24 small chunks
24 thin slices pancetta, tear one end of each piece, opening it up so it is a long strip instead of round
24 toothpicks, soaked in water
1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce

Directions:

Use your hands to combine the beef, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic, onion, oregano, parsley, and black pepper. When it is well mixed, portion it into 24 equally sized meat lumps and place on a piece of waxed paper.

Set up an assembly station with a large platter covered in waxed paper, ground beef lumps, cheese chunks, pancetta, and the soaking toothpicks.

Pick up one of the beef lumps and place it in the palm of your hand. Briefly roll to a round and then flatten it like a pancake. The beef should be in thin and about 2 inch in diameter.

Place one of the cheese chunks in the center, cup your hand to begin the fold and then gently fold the meat around the cheese, pressing to seal the edges.

Roll the meat gently in your hand to create a nice meatball shape that is about the size of a golf ball.

Place the meatball at one end of the pancetta strip, roll gently until the pancetta has been wrapped completely around the meatball.

Skewer the meatball, through the pancetta, with one of the soaking toothpicks.

Place on the waxed paper covered platter and repeat until each meatball has been created. Either place the platter in the refrigerator or, if the charcoal is ready, arrange the meatballs inside one of those nice grill baskets so you can flip all 24 meatballs in one turn.

Arrange the charcoal to one side of a large charcoal grill and light. When the coals are white, set the grill holder on the grill away from the coals. Baste with the pasta sauce.

Turn and baste every few minutes until the bacon chars and the meatballs are cooked throughout. Depending upon the temperature of your grill, this will take approximately 25 minutes.

Open the basket and arrange the meatballs on a platter. Serve for dinner with a side of spaghetti and a lovely leafy salad, or serve as a hot appetizer with a bowl of pasta sauce for dipping.

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