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Rachael skips the pasta and serves Sicilian-style meatballs, mixed with cheese, pine nuts and raisins, over a big tangle of garlicky, lemony kale + chard. 

As Rach says, this recipe begs the question: "Do we really need pasta every time we have meatballs?" She arranges these roasted Sicilian-style sweet and savory beauties, which are the size of baseballs, in a nest of dark leafy greens and serves them with crispy bread or rolls for mopping. (Rach suggests ciabatta rolls.) It's a pretty healthy and balanced meal; you won't miss the pasta one bit! 

For more pasta-free meatball recipes, check out Rachael's Pork Schnitzel Meatballs and Chicken Tortilla Meatballs with Tangy Hot Cabbage Slaw


For the Meatballs:
  • 2 ½ cups lightly toasted stale bread cubes
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef, 80% lean
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ½ cup small golden raisins or currants, soaked in hot water until tender
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds or pollen or the two combined
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons crushed or ground red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
For the Greens:
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ pounds flat kale or Swiss chard, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • About ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Serves: 4 to 6


Preheat oven to 450°F with rack at center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and parchment. 

Soak bread with milk until tender, place in food processor and pulse-grind into moist large crumbs. Place beef and pork in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add eggs, pecorino and pine nuts, softened and drained small raisins or currants, fennel seeds, oregano, parsley, granulated garlic and onion, red pepper and EVOO. Combine and roll into 2 ½- to 3-inch balls and roast until a little crispy and medium brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. 

While the meatballs roast, for the greens, heat a large pan with EVOO over medium heat, add garlic, stir 1 minute, then add stock and red pepper flakes. Wilt in greens, season with nutmeg and salt and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Squeeze juice from lemon on top.

Rachael Ray 14-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

Rachael Ray 14-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

Rachael Ray

Arrange the cooked greens on a large platter and nestle in the meatballs.