The main content
Rachael's Provolone Stuffed Broccoli Rabe Meatball Heroes

Rachael's Provolone Stuffed Broccoli Rabe Meatball Heroes


  • About 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 6 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • ½ cup red wine

  • ½ cup chicken stock

  • 1 can (14-15 ounces) crushed tomatoes

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • ½ pound ground pork

  • 1½ teaspoons fennel seed (half a palmful)

  • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chili paste or 1½ teaspoons chili flakes

  • ½ bunch broccoli rabe, parboil 3 minutes in salted water, drain, pat dry, and finely chop (about 1 cup, packed)

  • 1 cup homemade breadcrumbs or panko, moistened with 1/3 cup whole milk

  • 1 cup loosely packed grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)

  • 1 egg plus 1 yolk, lightly beaten

  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • About ¾ pound provolone cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes

  • Italian hoagie rolls

  • Baby kale or arugula


Preheat oven to 400˚F.

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat, add 2 cloves garlic and stir a minute or 2. Add sun-dried tomato paste, then oregano and wine, stir, add stock and tomatoes and season with salt to taste. Simmer over low heat until meatballs are ready to serve.

Place the meats in bowl and season with salt, pepper, fennel seed and chili paste or flakes. Add remaining 4 large cloves garlic, grated or minced, then add broccoli rabe, moistened breadcrumbs, pecorino cheese, eggs, parsley and about 2 tablespoons EVOO. Mix to combine and use a scoop to roll 2 inch balls, nesting a piece of provolone in each. Roast on parchment-lined baking sheet until golden and cooked through, 25 minutes. Add meatballs to sauce to coat.

Serve meatballs in sub rolls with spicy greens.