For the caramelized lemon meatballs: In a food processor, or a mini food processor, combine the bread, milk, and parsley. Process to get wet breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can tear the bread into small pieces, then transfer to a bowl and mix in the milk. Let rest for 10 minutes, then stir in the parsley.
Transfer the breadcrumbs to a large mixing bowl. Add the ground veal, thyme, salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, crumble the meat and mix it with the flavorings, making sure to thoroughly distribute the flavorings.
Shape the meat into 2 tbsp (30 ml) round meatballs and transfer to a clean plate. Scatter the flour over the bottom of a second plate.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick saute pan. Lightly roll each meatball in flour, shaking off the excess before adding it to the skillet. Repeat for all meatballs. Cook the meatballs 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning them until they’ve cooked for about 12 minutes.
When the meatballs look golden and crispy all over, pour the lemon juice into the pan. Shake the pan to coat the meatballs with the lemon juice and increase the heat to high. Cook for about 2 minutes more, shaking the pan often, until the juice is almost completely evaporated and the meatballs are caramelized. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.
For the roasted broccoli rabe: Preheat the oven to 425°F (210°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the broccoli over the prepared sheet. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and garlic, then drizzle over the broccoli rabe. Rub the broccoli rabe all over with the garlic oil. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roast for about 10 minutes, or until the broccoli rabe stems are tender and the leaves and florets are crisp at the edges.
SERVING: Serve the caramelized lemon meatballs with roasted broccoli rabe and al dente pasta seasoned with extra-virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
STORAGE: Roasted broccoli rabe is best enjoyed right away. Always cook pasta right before serving. Store cooked caramelized lemon meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a low oven before serving. You can also freeze the meatballs for over 1 month.
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