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Playing Meatball Melties


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork and veal mix
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion
  • A splash whole milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon rubbed or ground sage
  • Fresh nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for generous drizzling
  • 8 deli slices mild or sharp provolone cheese
  • 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • A few leaves fresh basil, torn
  • A pinch dried oregano or marjoram
  • 4 ciabatta rolls or 1/4 large ciabatta loaf, split and warmed or toasted


Serves: 4


Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, combine the meat mixture, breadcrumbs, parsley, Pecorino Romano, egg, garlic, onion, milk and sage; season with nutmeg, salt and lots of pepper. Form the mixture into 4 patties (thinner at the center and thicker at the edges for even cooking).

Drizzle the burgers all over with a liberal amount of EVOO. Place in the hot skillet and cook, turning once, for 10 minutes. Top each burger with 2 slices of provolone and tent with foil to melt.

While the burgers are working, in a medium saucepan, heat the tomatoes. Stir in the basil and oregano; season with salt and pepper.

Place the burgers on the roll bottom, then top with the sauce and roll tops.