Cheesy Baked Meatballs with Rose Sauce

I love those meatballs a lot because… cheese. I don’t really do a lot of dairy (take a calcium supplement, don’t worry!), but my one and only dairy weakness is cheese. Who can say no to cheese?! It’s so hard. SO HARD. Cheese is life. Amirite?

I made these meatballs for a little dinner party I hosted for some friends (if you’re reading this, NOLA2k18). One of the greatest things about this meatball mixture is that you can freeze whatever you don’t use. I cooked for 5, and had not only cooked meatballs but also a full serving for 2 of the mixture leftover that went in to my freezer for a rainy day. The cooked meatballs can be thawed in the fridge overnight, and then you heat them up in the oven on 350 for 20 minutes. With the mixture, also defrost overnight in the fridge, and then just ball up and cook per the instructions below when you’re ready!

Typically my recipes are of the quick and easy under-30-minutes kind, but special people call for special circumstances. Put on your comfy shoes and clothes when you head to the kitchen to start this journey. Prep time is approximately 30 minutes, and cook time is 1 hour.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 lbs ground beef (I use 94/6) OR you can mix up meats for a different flavor (beef/pork/etc)
  • 6 tbsp or 1 head of minced garlic
  • 2 c. Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 c. milk (or milk substitute)
  • 1 c. shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella
  • 1/2 c. fresh parsley
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the over to 400 degrees F. Line 2 oven safe dishes with foil (you need 2 unless you cut the recipe in half to make less meatballs) and spray with a light cooking spray (to prevent the meatballs from sticking… trust me, they will).

In a small to medium sized mixing bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the milk and set to the side. It should look like this when it’s blended well enough:

In a large mixing bowl mix the ground meat(s), garlic and breadcrumb mixture. Once well combined, add the Asiago & half of the Parmesan cheese, 3/4 of the parsley, eggs and salt & pepper. Mix by hand until combined. Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon form the meatballs and place in rows in the prepared oven dishes. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 375. In another medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together half of the marinara sauce with the whole jar of afredo sauce to make a rose sauce.

Take all of the meatballs out of the dishes and set aside on a plate. Remove the foil, and pour just enough of the rose sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Line the meatballs back up in rows, and pour the remaining rose sauce over to cover. Top with the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheeses. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the cheese very lightly. You want just enough so that your Italian seasonings have something to stick to. Sprinkle oregano, sage and thyme over the olive oil drizzle. Cover the dishes with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20.

If desired, broil for 5 minutes after you bake sans foil for 20 minutes to create a crispy cheese top. Sprinkle remaining parsley over the top and serve!

A lot of time and effort goes in to these meatballs, but they are worth the work. I promise 🙂

What are your favorite dishes to make for friends?

Xo, B

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