There are so many ways to enjoy this cheesy meatball skillet. Pop them in a sub, mix them up with some pasta, or soak up the sauce with some crusty bread!
This recipe takes cues from some meatballs I used to make in HUGE batches which I called Parmesan meatballs. The problem was, whenever I made them, I always made an army of meatballs to justify the whole process. In other words, I mass-produced meatballs. Oh, say about 55 or so every time I made a batch?
And while an army of meatballs sounds like days of delicious meals, not everyone wants to stand by the kitchen counter rolling 55 meatballs in their hands. So today I’m gonna break down the batch a little and make it more single family-sized, or couple sized. And instead of giving you plain meatballs that really don’t look great all naked and stuff, I’m dressing these up with marinara sauce and cheese.
This is all done in one skillet, your meatball heaven awaits you. Taking cues from my Parmesan meatballs, these have finely grated Parmesan packed tightly in them and it really makes a difference.
Now you can use these meatballs with some demi baguettes to make a sub or toss it with some freshly cooked pasta. Or just munch on them straight from the pan if that’s the way you roll. I leave the eating how…up to you. The important thing is to enjoy it!
CHEESY MEATBALL SKILLET RECIPE TIPS
Meatballs: If you don’t feel like making meatballs from scratch, you can shortcut your way to this dish with some frozen Italian meatballs. But for those that wanna make it from scratch (and it makes a HUGE difference), use an ice cream scoop to get them similarly sized. One pound of beef ended up giving me about 16 meatballs so that’s about 4 meatballs per person.
Parmesan cheese: I used grated Parmesan cheese to mix with the meatballs. It’s easier to distribute evenly in the meatball mixture compared to shredded Parmesan cheese.
Pan-frying: Get the pan and oil nice and hot before you start pan-frying so they don’t stick. I have a 10″ skillet so I did this in two batches. You’ll want some space for them to roll around so you can brown them on all sides. I used just enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet so they wouldn’t stick, about a tablespoon.
Depending on how lean your ground beef was, some fat will render and you’ll end up with more oil than you started with. Use this additional rendered fat to brown your meatballs. When you’re rolling your meatballs around to brown, do it gently! Using a spoon to move them around the skillet instead of tongs is the best way to maintain their shape while they firm up and brown.
Marinara sauce: There are three options for your marinara sauce. You can go for a recipe that’s already a staple if you have one or stick with some jarred marinara sauce from the grocery store if that makes you happy. Or you can dress it up the jarred marinara sauce from the store with some basic seasonings.
I like to add some Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon cubes, red pepper flakes and balance out the sourness of the marinara with a teeny tiny bit of sugar. If that sounds right up your alley, you can use this homemade marinara sauce recipe as a general guideline on what to toss in there.
Simmering: Once you add the meatballs back into the pan, simmer for a little to marry the flavors. You’ll want to reduce the heat around this stage because tomato sauce on the stovetop over high heat will SPLATTER. Reducing it to a gentle simmer helps keep it contained. If you have one, wear an apron!
Cheese: Once it’s done simmering, top the meatballs with some mozzarella cheese. Add some Parmesan cheese too for good measure if you want. Then broiling it for a few quick minutes in the oven to melt that layer of cheese. It won’t take too long so keep your eye on it.
And that’s that! Break out your baguettes or drain off your pasta. It’s eating time!