Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Sausage Balls with Tomato-Basil Sauce, Cacio e Pepe Potatoes and Roast Broccolini
- 2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 tub bocconcini (bite-size fresh mozzarella in water)
- 2 pounds Italian hot or sweet fresh chicken, turkey or pork sausage, bulk if available
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for liberal drizzling, 4-5 tablespoons total
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds broccolini
- 1 head garlic
- 1 can San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or milk
- 1 tub grated Pecorino Romano
- 1 tub good quality, freshly prepared pesto, available in the refrigerated case at the grocery store
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Quarter the baby potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then salt the water and cook until tender, about 12 minutes.
While the potatoes come up to a boil, place a nonstick baking sheet alongside a mixing bowl. Remove 12 pieces of bocconcini from the water and set them on your work surface. Remove the sausages from their casings, if bulk sausage is not available, and place in a bowl. Combine the meat into a single mound, then score it into four sections. Each section will yield three large sausage meatballs. To form each ball, take a handful of meat and wrap it around a piece of mozzarella. Roll 12 balls. Wash your hands after handling the raw sausage.
Coat the balls with a drizzle of EVOO. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cooked through and evenly browned.
While the balls are cooking, trim the ends of clean broccolini and scatter evenly over a baking sheet. Grate or chop 2-3 cloves of garlic and drizzle the broccolini and garlic with olive oil, then season with the salt and pepper and roast for 12-15 minutes to crisp the broccolini tops.
While the broccolini is roasting, add the tomatoes to a small pot or skillet, mash with a potato masher and season with salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat, then simmer to reduce, about 8-10 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender, drain and return them to the hot pot to dry them out a little. Mash the potatoes with 1/2 cup stock or milk, 1/2-2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, a few generous handfuls, lots of black pepper and a little salt.
Turn the heat off the tomatoes and stir in 1/2 cup of the prepared pesto.
Serve three stuffed sausage balls with tomato-basil sauce on top or underneath and the cacio e pepe smashed potatoes and broccolini alongside.