I recently made this dish while camping with my husband, daughter, and two friends. My friends calling it glamping as we have an RV with a stove and oven, but even so, I do try to make simple meals so clean up is minimal. My inspiration came from Jamie Oliver’s recipe “Messy Meatball Buns”. We didn’t have buns, but I did have a frozen loaf of ciabatta bread on board, so we just plated up lots of sauce with the cheesy topped meatballs and YUM! The sauce was plentiful so it would have been great to serve in a low soup bowl, but we don’t have bowls on board the RV, so a flat plate with lots of sauce and the baked bread to sop it up was just as fun. The meatballs were full of flavor and the melted cheese on top reminded me of eating an Italian hamburger but BETTER.
Jamie uses store-bought pesto, but I happened to have my homemade pesto as I freeze it in batches so I have it on hand anytime. See my post on pesto for other great ways to enjoy pesto!
I also included some fun pictures from our week at the beach. It was so relaxing and we had mostly great weather. AND I learned a new card game called Spades which was fun and a blessing to have quality time with my daughter and her sweet friends!
Now on with the meatballs!
Ingredients for One Pan Saucy Cheesy Meatballs
1 pound lean ground beef
¼ cup pesto
1 14 ounce can of plum tomatoes
1 5 ounce ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
¼ cup red wine (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix the ground beef, pesto, with a pinch of salt and pepper together with your hands.
Divide the meat mixture into 12 pieces and with wet hands roll them into meatballs.
In a non-stick pan add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and brown the meatballs on all sides.
Once the meatballs are golden, pour the tomatoes in, breaking them up with a wooden spoon or crush them with your hands (it's messy but effective) and add ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup red wine.
Bring sauce to a boil, put the sliced mozzarella cheese on top of each meatball, place the lid on the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, leave for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce and melt the cheese.
If you want to make this with buns, you would slice and warm your buns over low heat, spread a little pesto on each bun, then top with the meatballs and sauce. Probably want to have a fork and knife nearby if you go this route!