Roasted Garlic and Mozzarella Meatballs with Tomato-Basil Marinara

If there was ever a meal that included all of my favorite things, this would definitely be it. Imagine for a moment, a mixture of ground beef and sausage rolled into tender meatballs with hints of roasted garlic and melted mozzarella cheese. Now if that is not enough, imagine these same tender cheesy, garlicky meatballs with a savory tomato basil sauce poured over the top. I don’t know about you, but to me it seems like a combination made in heaven.

I chose to use roasted garlic in this recipe because the soft garlic cloves are easy to work into the meat. So instead of biting into pieces of garlic you will find a hint of sweet roasted garlic flavor throughout the entire meatball. For those of you that have never made roasted garlic before, its super easy. I’ve included the recipe and instructions on my post for Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes .

Roasted Garlic and Mozzarella Meatballs with Tomato-Basil Marinara Recipe

Serves 4


  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 head (or bulb) of roasted garlic, cooled
  • 1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cubed fresh mozzarella pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used Chianti)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • kosher salt
  • fresh basil leaves



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Squeeze or use a fork to remove the cloves of garlic from the skins.


Using your hands, mix the Italian sausage, ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, mozzarella pieces and garlic cloves in a bowl until well combined.


Using a heaping tablespoon of the mixture, roll into approximately 15 meatballs. You'll want to completely encase the mozzarella so you cannot see any on the outside of the meatball.


Place prepared meatballs in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.


While the meatballs are cooking, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallot and garlic 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Pour in red wine, cook for 1 minute.


Pour in crushed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Sprinkle in fennel seed. Season with salt to taste.


A couple minutes before serving, chiffonade basil and sprinkle it over the sauce. To do this, stack a few basil leaves on top of each other. Roll them up and use a sharp knife to slice them.


Transfer finished meatballs to a serving platter and spoon sauce over the top.


You can eat these as they are with some crusty garlic bread to soak up the sauce. Or you can also serve them over pasta. Either way they are delicious :) Enjoy!

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    October 26, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I made this a while back and used lamb and beef instead of Italian sausage (I don’t eat pork), and it came out amazing! I was perusing the site for dinner ideas for this week and came across this recipe again. Can’t wait to make it! :)

  • Reply
    June 20, 2009 at 10:08 am

    This recipe looks delicious!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Oh Des! Your description and photo of this dish made me hungry. Seriously, I usually have a pretty “strong” stomach in that I can read or look at the most succulent food and not crave it… but these meatballs are creaming my name! I can just picture soaking up all that delicious sauce with a slice of good crusty bread… yum!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Is it possible to substitute something in place of the wine? or maybe disregard it completely? I’m about 6 months shy of being legal, so I can’t really buy wine :\

    • Reply
      June 20, 2009 at 8:31 am

      Underaged: no problem! You’ll still get a nicely flavored dish if you substitute beef broth for the wine. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I love these! We can’t get enough of meatballs in our house and stuffing them with Mozzarella is such a yummy idea! Can’t wait to try them!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I don’t do meat but the sauce looks incredible!

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    Hi! I am Des! Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too. Read more »

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