Mozzarella stuffed elk meatballs & red wine tomato sauce

Mozzarella stuffed elk meatballs & red wine tomato sauce

There’s nothing better than a heavenly hearty meal on a Sunday night. Mozzarella stuffed elk meatballs drowned in red wine tomato sauce served up with some fried basil and crusty bread. What else could you ask for? You could also make this dish using venison, beef or veal.

13/15 – 2 inch meatballs

  • 1.5 lbs ground elk or venison burger
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary
  • 3 slices white bread without crusts
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese balls (size of cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 – 28oz. can diced plain tomatoes
  • Fresh basil chopped
  • ½ cup dry red wine


  1. Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced white onion and 2 diced garlic cloves. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, add thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper and then remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a separate bowl tear bread into small pieces and soak in milk for 5 minutes. Squeeze milk from bread and place in another larger bowl. Add elk burger, egg, parmigiano-reggiano, onion mixture and mix with your hands.
  3. Take elk mixture and begin to form meatballs being sure to add a mozzarella cheese ball in the center of each meatball. The meatball sizes are up to you. You can make them small, medium or large depending on how you want to serve this dish up. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Add remaining oil to cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Place each meatball into skillet and cook on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan when browned.
  5. Add ½ cup dry red wine to skillet to deglaze pan. Add canned tomatoes and ¼ cup fresh chopped basil. Bring sauce to a simmer, add meatballs and reduce heat to low. Continue to cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. For a garnish, you can quickly flash fry some basil leaves in a little oil and serve up with crusty bread or a side of pasta. Trust me — you’ll love it!
Mozzarella stuffed elk meatballs & red wine tomato sauce

Mozzarella stuffed elk meatballs & red wine tomato sauce

Mozzarella stuffed elk meatballs & red wine tomato sauce

Mozzarella stuffed elk meatballs & red wine tomato sauce

Mozzarella stuffed elk meatballs & red wine tomato sauce


  • Reply December 24, 2017

    Kelly W

    Great recipe! I let them slow cook in the tomato sauce for a while longer than prescribed but they turned out extremely tender. I also added a little more wine than the recipe calls for but that’s just a personal taste thing.

    My husband got an elk this year so I’ll be a frequent visitor of your site – all of the recipes look amazing! I’ll comment each time I try one 🙂

    Thanks for helping us explore!

    • Reply December 25, 2017


      Thank you Kelly… and Merry Christmas. I would have added more red wine as well 8) – kristy

  • Reply October 17, 2017

    Patty lough

    I just put my Elk meatballs in fridge to chill. I’m putting them in homemade spaghetti sauce after I fry them and serving with pasta. I can’t wait to taste them. My son and husband are out Bow Deer hunting now. The aroma in the house will knock there socks off when they get home.

  • Reply January 30, 2017

    Wild Game Foodie

    Do you think I can bake these instead of frying on stovetop? If so, suggestions as to how long so they will be cooked through? Will be making them appetizer sized, so little smaller than a ping pong ball.

    • Reply January 30, 2017


      YES! If you make them to be appetizer small, I would bake them at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes and then place them in the tomato sauce. If you aren’t using a sauce, I would still bake for the same time and at the same temperature, checking on them and then seeing if you need to bake for a few more minutes. (it will always depend on the size).

      • Reply January 30, 2017

        Wild Game Foodie

        Thank you for the swift response, can’t wait to try them!

  • Reply February 9, 2016

    Katherine Hodgson

    This is my favourite meatball recipe. I just received about 50 lbs of ground elk from my husband and I didn’t know what to do with it. I made meatloaf, burgers… but these meatballs are the best!! I usually sub half with ground pork or beef for extra fat. The meatballs have wonderful flavour. The fresh mozzarella adds a nice touch! Also the sauce…just perfect!

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    Lunch Diva

    I made these meatballs tonight with 1 lb. ground elk and 1 lb. ground beef (grass-fed), and they was delicious! I wasn’t too sure about the mozzarella at first, but they were a big hit with my family. Thanks! It was my first time cooking with elk, and definitely not my last.

    • Reply October 14, 2011


      Oh that’s terrific… they are so amazing. Have you cooked pheasant? We just got some and this will be my first time. If you have suggestions – would love to hear them. Let me know how cooking the rest of your elk goes. – Kristy

  • Reply September 25, 2011

    Food for Hunters

    Awesome idea! We will have to try someday. Going to Nebraska in November to load up some on more deer. We love your website!

    Rick and Jen

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