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Eggplant Meatballs With Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes And Basil

12 - serves 4
Brian Streeter
Pairs well with:
Zinfandel, Red Hills Lake County

Chef Brian Streeter creates a tasty pairing to match the flavors of our Zinfandel.


2 large globe eggplant
¾ c. fresh breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped
¼ c. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
4 oz. mozzarella

2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red chile flakes
5 T. olive oil
24 oz. tomato puree
1 basil sprig

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. fresh basic, roughly chopped
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400°F. Puncture the skin of the eggplants with the tines of a fork. Place on a sheet pan and roast in the oven until eggplant is soft and begins to collapse, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Peel and roughly chop. Place in a colander and press to remove as much moisture as possible. Return to the cutting board and chop finely. Place in a mixing bowl and combine with the breadcrumbs, egg, cheese, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.

To make the meatballs, dice the mozzarella into ½” pieces. Place a tablespoonful of the eggplant mixture in the palm of your hand, flatten the mixture and set a piece of mozzarella in the center, close up the eggplant to surround the cheese and gently roll between the palms of your hands into a ball. Set on tray and reserve. You should wind up with approximately 12 balls.

To make the sauce, heat a wide-bottom pan over medium heat, briefly sauté the garlic and chile flakes in 2 T. of the olive oil to soften. Add the tomato puree and basil sprig and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt.

While the tomato sauce is cooking, dress the cherry tomatoes with olive oil and season with the basil, salt and pepper.

To serve, heat a non-stick skillet over high heat with the remaining olive oil. Brown the eggplant. Add the tomato sauce to the pan; bring to a simmer and cover to heat the meatballs through, about 3-4 minutes. Serve over penne or your favorite pasta and top with the cherry tomatoes.

Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Zinfandel.

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