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Italian egg rolls: the best thing since sliced pizza

I dreamed these up last week while thinking about appetizers to go with pasta and salad. I figured they’d probably be terrible, because if wrapping up sausage, cheese and meatballs into an egg roll were delicious, wouldn’t it be on every bar menu in America?

Still, I was compelled to try it for myself, and I’m glad I did. They’re splendid! I got to take all the credit, since no one else had ever heard of them before, either. Not surprisingly, a quick search just revealed that it’s totally been done… although both the results I clicked on gave me a recipe that included cabbage. Cabbage with cheese and tomato sauce? Why not throw some old shoelaces in there too? Maybe a few slices of lemon? A cigarette?

Maybe it’s just me. Kinda doesn’t sound that good with cabbage, that’s all.

Anyway, seven of us ate over 40 of these things the other night, so we must have liked them. They’re crispy and gooey, and sort of like a fried mozzarella stick, except with delicious meats and seasoning inside.

The above photo does absolutely nothing for them, of course. If I were those egg rolls, and I found out someone had posted this picture of me on the Internet, I would cry and cry and then call my lawyer to see if I could get the whole Web site removed by the host, maybe on the grounds on suspected terrorism. (Or get them to “take it out of Google immediately,” an oddly charming request we often get at work when people find unflattering reviews in our newspaper.)

Maybe if, on that same page, someone wrote very earnestly that I was delicious and wonderful and that everybody loved me, I might be able to let it slide just this once. Of course, that’s my ego getting the better of me. These are egg rolls, not ego rolls, and I bet they’re piiiiissed.

The above video shows how to prepare the below recipe. Watch or read? Your call.

Italian Egg Rolls

  • About 3/4 lb. hot Italian sausage, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • About 3/4 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 3–5 cloves garlic (depending on how much you love garlic), minced
  • About 3Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Tomato sauce or marinara sauce of your choice (at least 12–16 oz.)
  • 8–12 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 12 packaged egg roll wraps
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  1. Heat the sauce in a large pot. Add the sausage and allow to simmer on medium until the meat is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the ground beef, onion, garlic, and parsley in a large bowl. Add spices to taste, including grated cheese, and mix just until combined. Overmixing will make the meat weird.
  3. Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium-high, then add the meat and cook, stirring as necessary, until browned all over. Add a spoonful or two of sauce to the meat and stir. Remove meat from pan to cool.
  4. Cut the sausage pieces into thin strips.
  5. Lay out a single egg roll wrapper. (While you’re working, cover the rest with a damp cloth or put them in a resealable bag so they won’t dry out.) Just south of the center, place a couple strips of sausage, a spoonful of ground beef, and a generous handful of cheese, then wrap it up according to the directions on the package. Set it aside and cover with a damp towel, then repeat until you have as many egg rolls as you want.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the remaining tablespoon of olive oil with some garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  7. Heat canola oil in the pan and place some egg rolls (in one layer, of course) in it to fry. Allow them to brown on all sides, then remove them to a paper towel, brush the top with the oil mixture, and sprinkle some parmesan on top.
  8. Serve with hot tomato sauce for dipping.

Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.