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Originally published Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 6:05 AM

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Recipe: Meatball pie

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Serves eight

You will need a deep-dish pie pan that holds six to eight cups.

¾ cup (8 ounces) freshly shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup (6 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg

1 recipe cheese pie crust (recipe below)

4 cups homemade tomato sauce (recipe below)

1 recipe homemade meatballs, 10 to 12 meatballs (recipe below)

Dried or minced herbs such as thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano or a mix, for sprinkling

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine cheeses in a bowl; set aside. Whisk egg; set aside. Using about two-thirds of the dough, place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll into an 11- or 12-inch round. Gently fit into a deep-dish pie pan.

2. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the crust, using about ¼ cup. Add a single layer of meatballs, a sprinkling of cheeses, then a sprinkling of mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Repeat layering to fill pie. You may have some ingredients left over.

3. Roll remaining third of dough into a round a little less than 1 / 8-inch thick and large enough to cover pie. Lay across top; cut steam vents and crimp edges. Brush top of pie with whisked egg. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Bake until crust is nicely browned and the filling is hot, 40-45 minutes. (Cover edges if they begin to brown too much.)

Nutrition information per serving: 787 calories, 45 g fat, 23 g saturated fat, 171 mg cholesterol, 56 g carbohydrates, 38 g protein, 1,494 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

Tomato Sauce

1. Cut 1 slice uncured bacon into small pieces. Brown bacon over medium heat in a 6-quart saucepan; about five minutes. Remove bacon; set aside. Drain off bacon grease if desired. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and ½ teaspoon salt to the saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and minced fresh thyme; 1 sprig fresh rosemary; ½ large yellow onion, chopped; and 3 crushed cloves garlic. Stir; cook over medium heat until onion is translucent and garlic just golden, about 8 minutes. Do not let vegetables brown.

2. Add 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, 1 can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes, ¼ cup tomato paste, 1 cup chicken stock and ¼ cup red wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cooked bacon. Simmer, one hour. Sauce should be very thick. Stir in 1 tablespoon fresh basil. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

3. Makes about 1 quart.


1. In a large bowl, combine ½ pound each ground beef and ground turkey; ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion; ¼ cup each freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly shredded mozzarella; 1 lightly beaten egg; 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs; 1 clove garlic, pressed; 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary; 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme; ½ teaspoon each smoked paprika, salt and freshly ground black pepper; and ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly.

2. Place ¾ cup breadcrumbs in a quart-size plastic container. Lightly shape 2 tablespoons meat mixture into a ball. Drop into the crumbs and quickly rotate container to lightly coat the meatball. Repeat with remaining meat and crumbs. Place shaped meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet; refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place 1 cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a 6-quart saucepan or other high-sided pan. When oil is hot enough to make a small tester piece of meat sizzle, transfer meatballs into the oil with tongs. Don’t crowd the pan or allow them to touch each other. Fry about four minutes; turn and cook five minutes longer. Transfer fried meatballs to a baking sheet; bake 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Makes 10-12 meatballs.

Cheese Pie Crust

1. Add 2 ¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon superfine sugar, ½ cup hard aged cheese, finely grated (such as pecorino Romano or Parmesan), very cold, and ¼ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse 30 seconds to combine. Cut ¾ cup very cold unsalted butter into small pieces; add to flour mixture all at once. Pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pulse in 6 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon a time, until dough comes together and rides on top of the blade. Turn dough onto lightly floured parchment. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate, 30 minutes.

2. Makes enough dough for a 9- to 10-inch two-crust pie.

Adapted by the Chicago Tribune from Warren Brown’s “Pie Love: Inventive Recipes for Sweet and Savory Pies, Galettes, Pastry Cremes, Tarts, and Turnovers” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $24.95).

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