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East African Rub Meatballs

Melinda Parrish

By Kevin Gouveia
Yields 6

Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 50 min


  • 1 loaf seasoned Italian bread - divided
  • 1 cup whole white milk
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ½ cup Asiago Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 3 lbs Roma (plum) tomatoes, core removed
  • ¼  cup olive oil + 4 tablespoons
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 ½ tablespoon East African Rub
  • ½  cup Red Wine
  • 1 can 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes


In a large mixing bowl pull apart the inside of the bread loaf and soak in milk for 20 minutes.

In a separate mixing bowl combine ground beef, sweet sausage and hot sausage. Add 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano and 1/2 cup Asiago Cheese. Mix well. Add 1 egg to meat mixture.

Squeeze the excess milk out of the bread, discarding the milk. Crumble the bread into the meat mixture insuring to break apart any large chunks of bread. Do not overwork or the meatballs will be tough.

Shape into baseball size meatballs. Place on a sheet pan in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

In a large pot add 2 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Heat on medium high.  

Slit and X into the skin at each end of the tomato.  Add Roma tomatoes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a saucepan place olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat until translucent and soft, about 10 minutes. Combine onions and garlic with tomatoes, add East African Rub, wine and crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Add meatballs to sauce in increments to allow all the meatballs to soak for 10 minutes in sauce.