This past weekend I had gotten together with my closest college friends, as we celebrated our 20-something year reunion. While putting plans into place for our get together, we joked around about our daily diets of bodega-store eggrolls and street corner meatball sandwiches (we were starving art students at the time…don’t judge). This, of course, gave me the perfect idea for an appetizer to bring to our reunion. I simply cooked up some loose ground meat using my traditional meatball recipe mixed with a quick tomato sauce, then rolled it up in wonton wrappers with some shredded mozzarella cheese. What started off as a fun little idea turned into a creative, bite-sized alternative to a classic Italian party favorite!
There’s no real need for me to get too specific with ingredients for this recipe. I am well aware that the cook in every household, especially an Italian house, is partial to their own family meatball recipe. I do have my own meatball recipe listed below, if you are in need of one. One pound of your preferred meatball recipe, along with one cup of your preferred tomato sauce/Sunday gravy will work wonders. I used wonton wrappers because they roll up to a perfect bite-sized appetizer. You can also use eggroll wrappers for a larger portion, or any other pastry or dinner roll wrapper that you prefer. I also have listed below both a baking and stove top method for preparing the meatball mixture. I prefer baking my meatballs, but use whatever method you prefer. After all, it wouldn’t be a true meatball recipe if you weren’t able to make it to your liking!
Mini Meatball Roll-Ups
(You can use my quick sauce and meatball recipe below, or you can use your own preferred sauce and meatball recipe)
1 lb cooked meatball mixture*
1 cup tomato sauce, plus your preference of seasoning for taste (I used garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pack wonton wrappers (makes 52 wraps)
Preheat oven to 375˚. Break up meatball mixture* into a glass baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until meat is cooked. You can check on it occasionally and carefully break the meat apart with a wooden spoon. Remove from oven when fully cooked, set aside to cool. Heat the sauce in a sauce pan, season to your preference. When the meatball mixture is cooled, break apart into small pieces (a few pulses in a food processor works well for this). Mix the sauce with the meatball mixture, set aside to completely cool.
Heat 1 tbspn olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add meatball mixture*, breaking into pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until loose meat is no longer pink. Add tomato sauce, season to taste. Simmer until meatball mixture and sauce are mixed well. Remove from heat, let cool.
Place one tspn of cooled meatball and sauce mixture in the middle of a wonton wrapper, top with a pinch of shredded mozzarella cheese (be sure that the mixture is cooled, otherwise it will soften the wrapper). Roll the wrapper up half way from the bottom up. Lightly wet the top edge of the wrapper with water, then continue to roll and lightly pinch the edge to seal. Repeat until all wonton wrappers are filled or all meatball mixture is used.
Place the wrappers on a lightly sprayed baking sheet (you will need two baking sheets if you are making all 52 wrappers). Lightly spray the rolled wraps with cooking spray. Bake in the oven at 375˚ for 20 minutes or until the wrappers are golden brown.
Serve and enjoy!
*Dom’s Meatball Mixture
1 lb ground beef. pork and veal mixture
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbspn Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 tbspn milk
Combine and thoroughly mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.