Mozzarella Meatballs Risoni

These Risoni Mozzarella Meatballs make for a comforting, super family-friendly meal. Soft, mozzarella-stuffed meatballs are cooked in creamy tomato risoni flavoured with Parmesan and basil, and the best thing is, you only need to use one pan. Admittedly, rolling the meatballs does take a little bit of time and effort, but the great thing about this recipe is that the meatballs can be made ahead of time and even frozen. Once the meatballs are ready, you’re less than 30 minutes away from a flavourful homemade meal. This is lovely on its own, but you could also add a simple side salad.

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Mozzarella Meatballs Risoni

Risoni Mozzarella Meatballs

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5 from 5 reviews

  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x



Meatballs (makes approximately 16 meatballs)

  • 500 g (1 lb) regular beef mince/ground beef
  • ½ brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, freshly minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • ⅔ cup (66 g) panko breadcrumbs
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ⅓ cup (50 g) mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 cubes (approx 1cm cubes)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, freshly minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 200 g (1 cup) risoni/orzo
  • 2 ½ cups (590 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 cup (240 ml) passata or crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup (100 g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ cup (7 g) basil leaves, picked, plus extra to serve


  1. In a large bowl, combine the meatball ingredients except for the mozzarella cheese. Using your hands, mix well until just combined (if you overwork the meatballs, they will be tough). Roll the mixture into balls, aiming for roughly 2 heaped tbsp of mixture per meatball. Working one meatball at a time, flatten the meatballs into a disc, place the cheese in the centre and then shape the mixture back into a ball to enclose the cheese.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, heavy-based frying pan on medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides for 4-6 minutes until just cooked. Set aside.
  3. Drain any excess oil from the pan, then use 1 tbsp of water to deglaze and scrape up any sticky bits if needed. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes until softened.
  4. Stir through the tomato paste, then add the risoni, chicken stock, passata, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover and cook for 12 minutes, stirring regularly (see note 1).
  5. Stir through the Parmesan cheese and basil before returning the meatballs to the pan. Cover and cook for a further 3-5 minutes on the lowest heat setting until the mozzarella cheese in the centre of the meatballs has melted and the meatballs are heated through.
  6. Serve topped with extra Parmesan and basil leaves.


Note 1 – The risoni has a tendency to quickly stick to the bottom of the pan. The lowest heat setting is important, along with stirring it regularly. I normally give it a stir 3-4 times during the cooking time of 12 minutes, returning the lid each time.


Prepare the meatballs as per step 1 of the recipe instructions and freeze them for up to 2 months in an airtight container with baking paper between the layers to stop them sticking. Thaw in the fridge overnight and resume the recipe from step 2.


Can be frozen for up to 2 months or refrigerated for up to 3 days. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating for best results.

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: beef meatballs
  • Method: pan fry
  • Cuisine: Italian