A favorite casual hot entree is the meatball sub sandwich. On Friday nights in college, my roommate and I would sometimes order a pizza, a steak and cheese sandwich, or a meatball sub. Subs are also known as “hoagies” in Western Pennsylvania. It seemed that the meatballs were always gristly or mushy and had no real flavor. In contrast, my homemade Hearty Meatball Sandwich with its homemade juicy meatballs and a garlicky tomato and red bell pepper sauce just blows away those institutional-style meatball sandwiches.
Gooey mozzarella melts over herby meatballs draped with a tomato sauce and a hint of red bell pepper on a toasted sub roll. It’s a hearty meal that you can serve with a small green salad on the side. Your family will ask for more.
When I took the photos for this recipe, I had two pounds of lean ground beef to use. I decided to make 6 large meatballs for this dish, and then with the leftover portion of the meat mixture, I cooked 30 smaller meatballs to freeze for other meals. I’ve adjusted the recipe below to make six large meatballs for two sandwiches.
Start with a hearty sauce. You can use my Roasted Tomato Sauce instead of the sauce below. I like to use a tomato red bell pepper sauce with a touch of red wine for this dish.
Saute some finely chopped onion and red bell pepper in some olive oil.
Add some minced garlic and then deglaze the pan with some red wine. Add tomato sauce, dried basil, and some salt and pepper. Let all that simmer for a few minutes while you make the meatballs.
These meatballs are made with ground beef. You can always use a different meat such as turkey, chicken, veal, or venison.
With your hands, mix together the ground beef, beaten egg, milk, minced red onion, shredded parmesan, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and Italian seasoning.
With damp or wet hands, form six meatballs.
Saute the meatballs in olive oil, turning once and being careful not to break them up.
The meatballs are done when browned on both sides and juices are running clear.
Spoon the meatballs into the sauce.
Keep the meatballs and sauce warm.
Broil the interiors of two split sub rolls until lightly brown.
Use three meatballs per sandwich roll. Add a little sauce.
Cover the meatballs and the exposed roll with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Broil the sandwiches until the cheese melts.
Remove from the oven and close the sandwich rolls. Don’t those sandwiches look scrumptious????
Slice each sandwich in half and serve!
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Hearty Meatball Sandwich
2 T olive oil
1/2 c finely chopped red onion
1/4 c finely chopped red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c red wine
2 c tomato sauce
1 t dried basil
2 t sugar
1 t salt
Dash black pepper
3/4 lb ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 T milk
1/4 c minced red onion
1/8 c shredded parmesan cheese
1/8 c breadcrumbs
1 T finely chopped fresh parsley
2 t Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t salt
Dash black pepper
2 T olive oil to saute the meatballs
2 long sub sandwich rolls, split
1/2 c shredded mozzarella
2 T shredded Parmesan
1. In a chef’s pan, saute the chopped onion and red bell pepper in olive oil over medium low heat until the vegetables soften. Add the minced garlic and saute a minute or two longer.
2. Add the red wine to “deglaze” the pan. Add the tomato sauce, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper.
3. Let the sauce simmer slowly while you make the meatballs.
4. Mix together the ground beef, beaten egg, milk, red onion, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Lightly wet your hands with water and use your palms to form 6 large meatballs.
5. In a separate large skillet, saute the meatballs in the olive oil over medium low heat. When one side of each meatball browns, turn over to the other side. When both sides are brown, and meatball juices run clear, the meatballs are done.
6. Using a slotted spoon, nestle the meatballs into the tomato bell pepper sauce, spooning some sauce over the meatballs. Keep the meatballs and sauce warm while you prepare the sandwich rolls.
7. Set your oven on Broil. Open the split sub rolls and place on a baking pan. Broil the tops of the rolls for a few minutes until lightly browned.
8. Remove the rolls from the broiler. Using a slotted spoon, place three meatballs on each roll, and spoon a bit of sauce over the meatballs. Divide the shredded mozzarella and parmesan between each roll, sprinkling the cheeses over the meatballs and the rest of the roll.
9. Broil the sandwiches until the cheeses melt and each roll is toasty brown on the edges.
10. Remove sandwiches from the broiler, slice, and serve! Offer additional warmed sauce in a pourable container.
Serves 2 as a main course sandwich. Serve with a side salad, a steamed vegetable, or fries. And remember to offer the remaining tomato and red bell pepper sauce for dipping.
Variations: Substitute ground turkey, veal, chicken, or venison for the ground beef. You can omit the parmesan cheese. If you like spicier meatballs, add more Italian seasoning to your mixture.
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