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Rachael Ray's Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Kale

Rachael Ray's Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Kale



  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs

  • ⅓ cup whole milk

  • 1 lb. ground beef (80% lean)

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 scant tbsp. Calabrian chile paste or 1 tsp. crushed red pepper

  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 tsp. (1/3 palmful) fennel seeds

  • 1 cup (packed) baby kale; or 1 cup (packed) stemmed Tuscan kale, blitzed in a food processor until finely chopped

  • 1 cup (loosely packed) grated Pecorino Romano (about 2 oz.)

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 to 3 oz. provolone, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • Olive oil cooking spray, or olive oil for brushing


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste

  • ½ cup sweet (red) vermouth or red wine

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 can (about 14 oz.) crushed tomatoes

  • 1 cup passata (uncooked tomato puree) or 1 cup tomato sauce

  • ½ cup beef stock

  • A few leaves of fresh basil, torn


Step 1

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

Step 2

In a medium bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and milk. Let stand until the crumbs soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beef. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chile paste, garlic, and fennel seeds. Mix in the kale, Pecorino, and egg. Roll into balls about the size of a large walnut. Press 1 piece of provolone into each meatball, then enclose the cheese with the meat. Arrange on the baking sheet; spray with cooking spray or brush with oil. Roast the meatballs, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 18 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile, for the sauce, in a large skillet, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic, a minute or two. Stir in the tomato paste, then the vermouth and oregano. Stir in the tomatoes, passata, stock, and basil. Season with salt. Simmer the sauce over low heat while the meatballs finish cooking.

Step 4

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn to coat.