Meatballs with mozzarella tucked inside are slow cooked in a savory tomato sauce and served over pasta for a hearty family meal.

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Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
6 hrs
total:
6 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 servings
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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Sauce:
Mozzarella Meatballs:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a large skillet heat extra-virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until tender. Spray 5 quart or larger slow cooker. Add onion and garlic and remaining sauce ingredients. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Serve on pasta of your choice.

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  • Meat can be added to the sauce if desired. Below is a meatball recipe that could be added to the sauce at the beginning of the cook time.

  • Mozzarella Meatballs: In a large bowl mix turkey, oats, basil, black pepper, garlic cloves and eggs. Shape into 2-inch balls (should get 14 to 16 meatballs). Press 1 small mozzarella ball into center of each meatball, sealed inside.

  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high neat. Add meatballs; cook just until browned on all side. Place half of the sauce in slow cooker, add meatballs and then last half of sauce. Cook as directed.

Nutrition Facts

710 calories; protein 43.7g 87% DV; carbohydrates 42.5g 14% DV; fat 39.9g 61% DV; cholesterol 196.7mg 66% DV; sodium 1187.2mg 48% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (11)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
10/25/2015
Add 1 lb beef to 1 lb sweet italan sausage add 1 cup bread crumbs 2 eggs made my own sauce baked in oven 30 min at 350 then added to slow cooker the rest is the same as the recipe Delicious!!! Read More
(3)
11 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
10/25/2015
Add 1 lb beef to 1 lb sweet italan sausage add 1 cup bread crumbs 2 eggs made my own sauce baked in oven 30 min at 350 then added to slow cooker the rest is the same as the recipe Delicious!!! Read More
(3)
Rating: 4 stars
06/14/2016
Needs something to spice it up a bit. The sauce was a lot of work and I would rate it a three star. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
09/10/2015
This has become my go-to meatball recipe. I use turkey which can often result in dry meatballs but these stay super moist cooked in the crockpot. Oatmeal instead if breadcrumbs makes them more nutritious and honestly you can't even tell that a healthier ingredient has been substituted. I've made them without and without the cheese and they're delicious both ways. The sauce is pretty standard and using a jarred sauce as a shortcut is just as well. Read More
(2)
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Rating: 4 stars
07/13/2015
I made both the meatballs and sauce of this recipe. I would give the meatball recipe 5 stars and the sauce 3 stars. I never made meatballs with oats but they came out really good - flavor and consistency. I did bake them in the oven for 20 mins at 400 instead of frying them as that's how I make my meatballs. The sauce was really bland. I did not add the fennel but otherwise made as written. I do not like fennel so doubt I would try again but this will be my go-to meatball recipe (I made some with and without cheese and both options were yummy...I may even liked the plain ones better). Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
06/24/2016
I loved this recipe! I made both the sauce and meatballs. It took me some time to prepare but it lasted me and my husband through 4 meals. I didn't have fennel seeds and I used bread crumbs for oats. It turned out perfect. I only had 4 hours to cook the meatballs so I pan sautéed them first then added them to the sauce for 4 hours. It was great. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/07/2017
We love these meatballs. Probably make them twice a month. Read More
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Rating: 4 stars
08/29/2016
After reading previous reviews I didn't even try making the sauce. I substituted a better quality jarred marinara and focused my attention on the meatballs. I used combination ground turkey and lean beef omitted the pepper for personal preference and used shredded mozzarella. I also didn't cook before. They came out moist and rich. If you're really wanting to make sauce I'd suggest Chef John's Cherry Tomato sauce from the site. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/24/2017
I used 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 Italian sausage for the meatballs. I added fresh basil and oregano. The meatballs held up pretty good without cheese oozing out. I also added extra spices such as extra pepper salt and cayenne powder. I think San Marzano tomatoes might be more flavorful in making the sauce. Thanks for the recipe:) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/28/2019
Love the sauce have made it twice makes a large amount. Read More