This is a popular recipe of the Apulia region that is prepared during the festivities and is especially typical of the Salento area. Strip the casing off the sausages, break up the meat and sautée in a pan with a little extra-virgin olive oil and, after a minute, splash with a glass of white wine; allow liquid to evaporate and stir in two tablespoonfuls of tomato sauce, five basil leaves and salt to taste. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly. In a large bowl mix 50 g grated pecorino cheese, bread crumbs, a clove of garlic and some parsley chopped finely together. Take three Berni artichokes (carciofotti) from their glass jar, chop them finely and add them to the bowl together with the minced meat and the eggs. Mix thoroughly and make into small balls the size of cherries.
Pour plenty of extra-virgin olive oil into a large pan and when the oil is hot, fry the meat balls; when they are a nice dark colour, remove the balls, pat them dry and add them to the sauce you have prepared. Bring plenty of water to a boil, add salt, cook the pasta and drain when al dente. While the pasta is cooking, cut the mozzarella into strips. Spread a little of the sauce (without meat balls) onto the bottom of an oven dish, make a layer of pasta and then a layer of mozzarella; cover with sauce and meat balls and sprinkle with grated pecorino. Continue with another layer of pasta, sauce, mozzarella, pecorino and top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Place the oven dish in a pre-heated oven (200°), cook for approximately fifteen minutes and serve immediately.
Recipe by Sandra Respighi - Taranto