Italian Meatball Tortes Recipe
Italian Meatball Tortes Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Italian Meatball Tortes Recipe

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4.5 20 19
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With classic Italian flavor, this hearty pie--filled with tomatoes, mozzarella and moist homemade meatballs--will be a hit with your family. “Preparation takes some time, but it’s well worth it,” says Sandy Blessing of Ocean Shores, Washington and a finalist in America's Best Loved Recipe Contest.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1-1/4 hours + rising Bake: 30 min.
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1-1/4 hours + rising Bake: 30 min.
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup crushed saltines
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Nutritional Facts

1 piece: 560 calories, 26g fat (10g saturated fat), 154mg cholesterol, 1119mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 3g fiber), 37g protein


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, shortening, egg, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, oats, saltines, onion, celery and seasonings. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook meatballs in batches until no longer pink.
  4. Meanwhile, place tomatoes and onion in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, herbs and salt.
  5. Punch dough down. Divide into three portions. Roll two portions into 11-in. circles; line the bottoms and press partially up the sides of two greased 9-in. springform pans. Roll third portion into a 12x10-in. rectangle; cut into twelve 10x1-in. strips.
  6. Place meatballs in prepared crusts; top with tomato mixture and mozzarella cheese. Make lattice crusts with strips of dough; trim and seal edges. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges. Yield: 2 tortes (6 servings each).
Originally published as Italian Meatball Tortes in America's Best-Loved Recipe Contest July 2008

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Reviewed Jan. 3, 2015

"Very time consuming but turned out great. Nice rainy day project :) My only recommendation would be to add a bit more sauce/tomatoes."

Reviewed Jul. 22, 2011

"This recipe was delicious. I brought it to work for a potluck lunch. Reprinted many copies of the recipe!"

Reviewed Feb. 18, 2011

"The whole concept is great, we loved it. Next time I would use my own italian meatball recipe. The celery and onion were still a bit crunchy in this meatball."

Reviewed Aug. 12, 2010

"The thing that sells this dish to me is the crust, I've used to on several adapted recipes and really adds something."

Reviewed Mar. 27, 2010

"My thoughts on this recipe:

1. Delicious, but time consuming. I will make this again, but probably only once or twice a year and on a day I can devote to cooking. I may try to make it using pre-made refrigerate dough next time to save time.
2. Next time I make this I will double the sauce; maybe it's just my taste palate but it seemed the meatballs overpowered the sauce at times.
3. The meatballs were FANTASTIC. I will definitely use the meatball portion of this recipe for spaghetti, meatball subs, etc.
4. And to the negative reviewers, sure this may not be the healthiest recipe in the world, but it's fine in moderation. Don't you ever have pizza, dessert, etc? Balance it will steamed veggies and a salad. Plus, it is VERY filling, so one wedge will be enough for most people and keep you full for several hours."

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