Italian Sausage Balls

This version of sausage balls, a traditional southern appetizer, gets an Italian twist. Pickled cherry peppers add a touch of acid and spice that complements the richness of the sausage and the mozzarella.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 24 sausage balls
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Ingredients

1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

1/2 cup self-rising flour

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

24 fresh basil leaves

12 slices pickled cherry peppers

Directions

Special equipment:
24 decorative toothpicks
  1. Position a rack in the top of the oven, and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Beat the sausage, mozzarella, flour and oil in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until the mixture just comes together. Shape the mixture into balls, using a level tablespoon for each, and set them on the prepared baking sheet at least 1 inch apart (you should have about 24).
  3. Bake the sausage balls until lightly golden brown and slightly puffed, 12 to 15 minutes, turning them halfway through.
  4. To serve, skewer a basil leaf (if the leaves are large, fold them in half), a pepper slice and a sausage ball onto a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining toothpicks and ingredients.