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, for liberal drizzling
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
1 tub good quality fresh pesto from the refrigerated cases of the market

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place a nonstick baking sheet alongside a mixing bowl. Remove 12 pieces of bite sized mozzarella from the water and set on work surface. Remove sausages from casings, if bulk not available, and place in a bowl. Combine the meat into a single mound then score it into 4 sections. Each section will yield 3 large sausage meatballs. To form each ball, take a handful of meat and wrap it around a piece of mozzarella. Roll 12 balls. Wash up. Coat balls with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until cooked through and evenly browned.

Add 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 to 10 minutes.
Turn the heat off the tomatoes and stir in 1/2 cup prepared pesto

Serve three cheese-stuffed sausage balls with tomato-basil sauce on top or underneath.



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