FOR THE MEATBALLS:
- 1 bunch (about 20 oz) broccoli rabe, washed, stems trimmed off
- 1 cup unpacked fresh whole wheat bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1-3/4 oz)
- 3 tablespoons fat free milk
- 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 cloves smashed garlic
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil (I love Tuttorosso)
- 1 bay leaf
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then add the broccoli rabe. Blanch for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, drain well and set aside in a colander to cool. Finely chop 3/4 cup of the florets and leaves (3-3/4 ounces) and set the rest aside for another use (I sauteed it with garlic and oil).
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the bread with milk, tossing to coat. Let stand, tossing occasionally, until bread is completely moist, about 10 minutes. Squeeze bread between your fingers or mash with a spoon to make sure there are no dry spots; if there are dry spots that refuse to moisten, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until bread is moist throughout.
- Add the ground beef, chopped broccoli rabe, grated cheese, egg, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Mix with clean hands, then gently form into 15 meatballs, about 1/4 cup each and transfer to a large baking sheet. Broil on the 2nd rack from the top until the top is golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- In a small skillet heat the oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until golden on both sides.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes into a 6-quart slow cooker. Add salt and pepper, bay leaf and the garlic. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce, cover and cook low 4 to 6 hours or high 2 to 3 hours.
Source: Skinny Taste
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