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Playing Sweet Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Meatballs


  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 1/2 cup fresh or panko breadcrumbs, moistened with whole milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup (a handful) flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 3/4 pound (3 links) hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • About 3 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 ball smoked mozzarella or scamorza cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces


Serves: 6-8 as starter or party offering


Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place beef in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze excess liquid from the breadcrumbs and add them to the beef along with the garlic, tomato paste, parsley, cheese and egg yolks. Mix with your hands slightly then combine with hot sausage and EVOO.

With a small scoop, grab some meat mix then nest in a piece of smoked cheese. Wrap meat around the cheese and roll into about 2 1/2-inch balls. Arrange meatballs on the parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until browned and cooked through, about 18 minutes.