Baked Pesto Meatballs

Baked Pesto Meatballs with Tomato-Red Wine Sauce

(makes 32 meatballs)



  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice


  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 12 oz. ground beef
  • 6 oz. mild Italian sausage
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Tomato Sauce:

  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes and their juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper


  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


For the Pesto:

Place garlic and pine nuts in a food processor. Process to a paste. Scrape down the sides. Add the basil leaves and process until finely chopped. Scrape sides again. Add salt, pepper and olive oil and process until pureed. Add the 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and process another 10 seconds. Set aside. (Don't clean food processor. It will be used for the tomato sauce.)

For the Meatballs:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Position rack in center of oven. In a small bowl, stir pesto and panko crumbs until well mixed. Let sit for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and Italian sausage. Mix well. Add the pesto panko crumbs mixture, the eggs and salt and pepper and mix well. Using a small scoop or tablespoon, divide mixture into 32 portions. Roll into balls and place in a 9"x13" baking dish in a single layer.

For the Tomato Sauce:

Place the tomatoes, wine, salt and pepper in the food processor. Pulse into chunky puree, about six pulses.

To Finish and Serve:

Pour puree over meatballs in baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown.

Sarah Scott
Chef/Culinary Consultant

Entertaining Tip!

Use remaining or leftover meatballs for mini sliders. Simply place on bottom half of slider roll, top with parmesan or mozzarella, add top half of bun and warm in oven or panini grill.

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