- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- olive oil or flavorless oil, for cooking
- 2 (16-ounce) cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (8 biscuits in each can)
- 8 thick deli slices mozzarella, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- flaky salt
- 1 cup marinara sauce, warmed, for serving
This recipe is based on something my mom made growing up. I remember having it after ice skating practice; it was the best. The dish is finished with a garlic butter, as if the biscuits are garlic knots, which brings them to the next level. Fennel in the meatballs lends some sausage-y vibes, Parmesan and other seasonings bring loads of flavor and the meatballs are excellent on their own. These have got it all — melty cheese, meatiness, butter, carbs — making them a total crowd-pleaser. And since they're handheld, they're perfect for eating while cheering on your team.
Technique tip: Spread out the meat in your mixing bowl to allow the seasoning to get a jump start on being evenly distributed throughout the meat; it helps you avoid the risk of over-mixing. Don't over-mix the meat because it could result in tough meatballs. Meatballs can be made in advance. Shaping these is like shaping dumplings: Make sure to pinch the bottom of the dough to seal well.
Swap option: You can totally use ground turkey or chicken or even store-bought meatballs. If you want to go all in, make homemade biscuits. But you just made homemade meatballs so it's totally OK to go the store-bought route with biscuits.
For the meatballs:
Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the pork, Parmesan, salt, fennel seeds, garlic, onion, paprika, crushed red pepper, egg, parsley and a few turns of black pepper, and mix to combine. It's easiest to do this with your hands. Form into 16 balls, each about 1½ inches in diameter.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the meatballs in batches, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
For the biscuits:1.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.2.
Flatten each biscuit with your palm, add a half piece of mozzarella and top with a meatball. Pinch the edges of the dough around each meatball to seal. Place seam-side down in a 9-inch square baking dish. Bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.3.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 minutes.4.
When the biscuits have baked for 30 minutes, brush them with the butter mixture, sprinkle with the parsley, Parmesan and some flaky salt, and continue to bake until golden and cooked through, 5 to 10 more minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with warm marinara for dipping.