We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, meatballs are just as good as a stand-alone dish as they are when paired with spaghetti and red sauce, but these ones happen to be covered in a creamy, cheesy bechamel sauce that’s impossibly delicious. We serve this dish with a crusty loaf of garlic bread and it gets completely demolished when we set it down on the table. Get yourself a side of greens and call it a day… These meatballs steal the show every time!
The method here is pretty similar to the meatballs you’re probably used to making. You form your mixture, make some balls, and pop them in the oven to bake. While they cook, you make your sauce (and in this case… that sauce is what it’s all about). Bechamel sauce is a basic white sauce that’s formed with a roux (a mixture of flour and butter) and it’s creamy and smooth and nearly irresistible… but even more so when it’s topped with a little bit of cheese. You coat the meatballs in the sauce, top them with cheese, and return them to the oven.
They emerge bubbly and browned and all kinds of amazing. The meatballs are hearty but not dense, and the herby flavor running through them is a bright contrast to the rich cheesiness that surrounds them. They’re hard to resist for sure, you guys. So go ahead and give in.
Cheesy Bechamel-Covered Meatballs
- 3/4 pound ground beef
- 3/4 pound ground pork
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- kosher salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- In a large bowl, combine beef pork, parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, milk, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes, and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Using your hands or two forks, mix everything together until fully combined, then roll out into 1-inch balls and transfer to a large baking sheet.
- Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until browned on the outside.
- While meatballs are baking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously, or until roux is golden and smooth and paste-like. 5-7 minutes.
- While continuing to whisk, stir in whole milk, then bring mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened.
- Remove meatballs from oven and transfer to a baking dish or oven-proof skillet, then cover with bechamel sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Return meatballs to oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until they’re cooked all the way through and cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven and serve hot with garlic bread.
Recipe adapted from The View From Great Island