• 1 large egg
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Braciole, Italian Sausage and Pork Ribs:
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino 
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small flank steak, about 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut in half crosswise (against the grain)
  • 1 pound (about 5 links) Italian sausage, split in half crosswise
  • 3/4 pound country-style pork ribs
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed in a food processor or with a stick blender to a rough puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pound pasta, either tube-shaped or spaghetti, cooked al  dente
    1. 1.
      For the MEATBALLS : Place the Bread Crumbs in a large mixing bowl and add Milk. Mix together with your fingers. Let set for 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and mix with your hands until all is mix together.



  1. 2.
    For the BRACIOLE, Sausage, and Ribs: Combine breadcrumbs, Pecorino, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic, parsley, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl. Sprinkle each piece of flank steak with about 1/4 cup of the breadcrumb mixture. Roll up meat with the grain, and secure at 1/2-inch intervals using kitchen twine.
  2. 3.
    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add Braciole and sear, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker. Add 1 more tablespoon olive oil. Sear Italian sausage, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 8 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining tablespoon olive oil and the pork ribs.
  3. 4.
    For the Sauce: Return the Dutch oven to medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot, and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan, until softened and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until lightly darkened in color, about 2 minutes. Add red wine, raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a spoon.  Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and return to a boil.
  4. 5.
    Transfer tomato mixture to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on the low setting for 5 hours.
  5. 6.
    Remove meat from sauce, discard bay leaves and thyme. Cut string from braciole and discard. Pull pork ribs from bones and discard bones. Cover meat with foil and reserve.
  6. 7.
    Gently place prepared meatballs in the sauce. Raise the slow cooker heat to high (4-hour setting) and cook meatballs in sauce for about 30 minutes. Return reserved meats to sauce and cook another 30 minutes until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
  7. 8.
    Toss pasta with a generous amount of gravy in a large bowl. Top with meat, garnish with basil and serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan at the table.
  • Browning each of the meats and vegetables individually adds rich layers of flavor to the sauce.
  • Meatballs, which employ a bit of unflavored gelatin to keep them moist and bound together, are cooked in the sauce toward the very end so they stay moist and tender.
  • Red wine and balsamic vinegar add acidity and sweet complexity to the sauce—two things that can get lost in a slow cooker.
Note: This sauce can be made in advance and reheated. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a little water to loosen the sauce as necessary.

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
Crock Pot