23 August 2018

Italian Meatball Sandwiches

Italian Meatball Sandwiches - Make a double batch and freeze half / www.delightfulrepast.com

Italian meatball sandwiches make a great meal in any weather, but meatballs and sauce might be too much trouble to cook on a hot summer afternoon. No worries. I do my summer cooking in the morning.

I developed this recipe with dried herbs so that it could be what I call a Pantry Meal, a meal I can make from what's always on hand rather than having to make a grocery run. And I like to make a double batch and freeze half for another day. 

How many sandwiches this recipe makes depends on what size rolls you get. Today the bakery had some crusty French rolls that were just under four inches, so I put two meatballs on each one; so I could make eleven sandwiches. If they'd had the rolls that are just under six inches, I would have put three meatballs on each and made seven sandwiches. (Ooh, the math, my brain is smokin'!) 

Though I usually aim for perfectly round meatballs, when making them for a sandwich I like to flatten them out slightly. Some people put the meatballs straight into the sauce, but I like to brown them first, get a nice crust on them before simmering them in the sauce. But if you do it the other way, that's okay too.

Are you a meatball sandwich fan, or would you rather have your meatballs and sauce on some spaghetti? I also like to make double batches of my Spaghetti Meat Sauce and freeze it in these meal-size portions. 


Italian Meatball Sandwiches - Make meatballs and sauce ahead and freeze in my favorite freezer containers / www.delightfulrepast.com
Pyrex 3-Cup Rectangle Storage Containers


Italian Meatball Sandwiches


(Serves 4)

The Meatballs (Makes 22) 

2 slices good white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound (16 ounces/0.45 kg) very lean ground beef

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

The Sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup very finely shredded carrot
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (organic fire roasted)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
3/4 teaspoon basil
3/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

The Sandwich

Crusty French rolls or homemade buns
Thinly-sliced Provolone cheese



1 In medium bowl, combine bread and milk and let stand a few minutes before mashing to a paste with a fork. Add remaining meatball ingredients, except ground beef and olive oil, in the order given. Using hands, mix in the ground beef until everything is well combined. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour, or in freezer for 5 minutes or so, to make mixture easier to handle.

2 Roll #40 scoops of meatball mixture with both hands to form meatballs. (First I scoop all of the meatball mixture and then roll all the meatballs.) 

3 In 12-inch skillet*, heat olive oil. Brown the meatballs in two batches, rolling them around, browning on all sides. Remove to a plate or bowl.

4 In same skillet, cook onion for a few minutes, add in shredded carrot, and then stir in crushed tomatoes, scraping up brown bits in the pan. Add remaining sauce ingredients. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat. Add meatballs to sauce. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Sauce should be quite thick; you don't want a soggy sandwich.

5 Split rolls and line each with thin slices of Provolone. That's another thing that will prevent sogginess. Much better than putting the cheese on top. Heat the sandwiches in preheated oven, toaster oven or broiler just enough to melt the cheese. 



Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean

59 comments:

Angie Schneider said...

My husband loves meatballs, and I do make meatballs or patties very often for him. Must try this next time. Thanks for sharing, Jean.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Lemme see, 4 times 33…carry the 2, divided by x plus the quantity13 to the 6th power…yup. Without smokin’ my brain, I’ve come up with my nearly naked (breadless) meatball sandwich, on account of I don’t eat much bread, and crusty French bread is what I use to shoot pool and kill mosquitoes on the wall with, and also because – take a breath, Sully – your meatball recipe looks entirely edible with a savory smile and a lick-the-platter-clean finale. So: 16.2 meatballs per 1 inch of bread (slathered with cold butter).

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie. Hope he likes them as much as Mr Delightful does!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Sully. I am eating far less bread these days than I used to. With a smaller appetite, I like to make what I eat "count" (nutritionally), so I have smaller amounts of bread and other frills.

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

Oh my gosh you just made my tummy growl!! I love meatballs in every way shape and form...in sandwiches, on pasta, on pizza, in Wedding Soup, and just on their own - yummmm this looks so good!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

That's what I like to hear, Debbie! Thank you so much.

Gloria Baker said...

This looks absolutely delicious Jean!!

Sherry said...

yUm yUm double yUm!

Grace said...

I'm Italian-American, all of my grandparents were born in various parts of Southern Italy and I cook Italian peasant style (which my ancestors were) so I'm always interested in how other people make "Italian" food. We don't make 'gravy' aka tomato/spaghetti sauce that way nor do we make meatballs that way...It's really, really interesting. Actually my Sicilian grandmother cooked differently from my Neapolitan grandmother and my father, who was a terrific cook, did differently than his mother. My father's recipes were a bit more, how shall I say, refined. Meatball heros require mozzarella - then run under the broiler to melt the cheese and crisp the bread. But that's how we did it - meatball hero parmigiana.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Gloria.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Double TY, Sherry!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Grace, I love mozzarella, too, though I've been on a provolone kick of late. It's always interesting to me to see the regional differences in foods, such as your Sicilian versus Neapolitan. I have sauce recipes from two "real" Italians that are completely different from each other as well as from my own. Being allergic to garlic, I don't follow either one! :-) I hesitated to use the word "Italian," but did so because it gives people the general idea. Thanks so much for weighing in on this==I love people's family food stories.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

You know, Jean, I have never had a meatball sandwich! I know. How can that be when I make meatballs at least once a month? This looks like a very hearty and delicious sandwich. I know my hubby would love it! I'm trying to stay away from bread these days but a sandwich once in a while won't hurt me, will it? I'm thinking I will have to make these next time my boys are home which will be Christmas. One of them is a foodie and he would enjoy it, I know. I really like the idea of flattening the meatballs a bit for the sandwich. That way one has less chance of losing their poor meatball! ;-) Thanks for sharing your recipe.

NanaDiana said...

Jean! Listen, sweetie- I am drooling. YESTERDAY I was thinking about how long it had been since I had a meatball sandwich. lol YESTERDAY!!!! That is a great idea about flattening the meatballs slightly so they work better in a sandwich. As far as sandwich or over pasta...I will take meatballs any way I can get them.

Have a wonderful night- xo Diana

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, thank you so much. And, yes, please make these for your boys and let me know how they liked them!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Diana, thank you! I love it when that happens--a little sandwich serendipity!

Louca por porcelana said...

I have never had,seen or heard about meatball sandwich...Great idea! Yours look delicious!Hugs!

Marilyn Miller said...

Many years ago I use to make something similar for parties. They were always a hit; so I am sure your meatball sandwiches are a hit too. Yummm!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

There are some sandwiches that are delicate and destined for afternoon tea and then there are some that are ideal when you're really hungry. I'm usually really hungry and this sounds like my perfect sandwich for a hungry day. I could even replace my usual fish finger sandwich with this on a very hungry day.

Quinn said...

I wish I had a meatball sandwich right now - can't remember the last time I had one, homemade or otherwise - and your picture made my mouth water! Also, those 3-cup Pyrex containers are my favorites, too! They fit on the little shelves in my teeny fridge, they are a perfect size for 2 or 3 servings of most things, they fit in my microwave, and they stack like neat little bricks in my chest freezer! The only thing that would make them better (in my opinion) is if they would form a leakproof seal when closed. I learned the heard way to freeze the contents solid before letting the containers get tilted in the freezer.

Debbie Harris said...

YUM!! Funny thing is, I have been craving a meatball sandwich. :}
I have pinned this and will certainly be enjoying it one evening.
I usually have meatballs in my spaghetti.
Thank you for sharing ~

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

These are great looking meatballs Jean, what a genius idea that you flatten them. What great comfort food, pinned!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Maristella, I'm amazed at that! Please tell me you'll try it soon and start a trend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Marilyn. Yes, everyone seems to like meatballs of all sorts. They always go over well at a party.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Phil! Yes, most suitable on a really hungry day. But I've found that the daintiest tea sandwiches can really fill one up as well, if one eats enough of them!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Quinn--H--thanks so much. And I'm glad to hear you're also a fan of these little dishes! I have a dozen of them and could use a dozen more. But I like the lid just the way it is, so that it pulls off easily. Lids that make a leakproof seal are too complicated for me. Maybe they could offer people a choice of lid styles?

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Debbie, thank you! I hope you'll love it!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Gerlinde! I'm a huge fan of meatballs of all sorts and sandwiches of all sorts.

ellen b. said...

Meatball sandwiches are a favorite with hubby. I'll have to try these...

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Ellen, thanks, I hope he will like them!

April J Harris said...

Oh my goodness, these look amazing, Jean! I haven't had a meatball sandwich in ages, and I'm definitely craving one of these! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, and for your support of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Have a lovely weekend!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I love meatball subs, Jean, and I just made some baguettes just yesterday! Flattening the meatballs would make it much easier to eat. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, April. Love #HearthandSoul!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kitty. I love these on baguettes, especially homemade!

Tony Grant said...

Italian food is amazing full stop!! You had me at fresh basil, oregano and parsley. Herbs are the essence of all great food. Marilyn and I were staying in Firenze one summer and we decided to cross the Pont Vecchio over the River Arno and walk in the cypress tress populating the hills across from the city. I know what follows sounds, at first, sacrilegious but it illustrates my point about herbs. We came across a road side food seller. We ordered a cornet of chips.We are British after all. Yes we were that naff. Ha! Ha! However, we had never tasted chips like these. The vender, fried some freshly chipped potatoes, shook sea salt over them and then took a mixture of local fresh herbs, rubbed them vigorously between the palms of his hands, then with a twirl and a flourish reminiscent of the tarantella he dropped the rubbed herbs onto the chips.With a stylish flourish he rolled the chips into a large paper cone and presented them to us with a bow from the waist. WOW!!! We were gob smacked and couldn't stop smiling for ages. Your meat balls sound great, Jean!!!!!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

A great "chip" memory, Tony! I love it when my herb garden is in full swing, but I'm afraid I've neglected it of late. Of course, rosemary survives constant neglect and could easily take over the world. But I must get down to the garden center and replace some of my staples: basil, dill, cilantro, Italian parsley, etc. Thanks for the inspiration!

Bonnie said...

The sandwiches look yummy! I love meatballs... I usually just eat them alone with just the meat sauce. Thanks for the recipe and for doing the math! 😃 Have a wonderful weekend! Hugs!

Margie said...

I usually have meatballs with spaghetti, but I'm willing to try them as a sandwich! Thank you for stopping by. Hope you find some peach tea!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Bonnie! Glad you appreciated the math! It's better for us to just eat the meatballs and sauce and leave out the bread or pasta, but I do love good bread.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Margie. And make the sandwiches small enough, you can call them tea sandwiches!

Cranberry Morning said...

I laughed at your 'math' remark. :-D I'd rather have either: a) meatballs on a green salad or b)the really crusty French roll with only good old Wisconsin butter on it. In my house, it would most likely be the salad option, but I can dream. It does look delicious!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

A crusty French roll with nothing but butter? Hmm … works for me! Though I do also like some good old Wisconsin cheese. Thanks, Judy!

Patrick Looney said...

I love meatballs. In a hot dog bun with is my favorite!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Patrick. A hot dog bun is a good choice for these smaller meatballs.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I haven’t had a meatball sandwich for decades... the garlic allergy, of course! Never thought to make them myself! Duh...

Looks so good!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

David, thank you! I thought of you and the garlic allergy thing recently when we had dinner out and I got "garlicked"--had the worst reaction ever.

Pauline Wiles said...

I don't think I've ever had meatballs in a sandwich, but you've definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities, Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oh, Pauline, you *must* try it then! A good meatball sandwich will convince you it's the best possible way to have meatballs!

Miz Helen said...

Your Italian Meatball Sandwich will be a very special sandwich, worth waiting for! Hope you are having a great week and thank you so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Miz Helen! See you Thursday.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

It has been way too long since I've had a meatball sandwich. Your post has inspired me to change that and make some soon.

Kitchen Riffs said...

My favorite way to eat meatballs is in a sandwich! Not a fan of them on pasta, actually, but paired with some toothsome bread and extra sauce? Heaven. Super post -- thanks.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, John. I am in complete agreement!

Richard Sheppard said...

Yum! One of my favorites, yet hardly ever eat them. When ever I go to a restaurant, I always order the pizza. Making them at home is a great idea! I can even individually portion out the meat balls and freeze them for a relatively easy lunch. Can't wait!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Richard. I love freezing individual portions of meatballs and sauce in the glass containers. Then just thaw overnight in the refrigerator, heat and serve!

Jann Olson said...

Can you believe that I have never tried a meatball sandwich? Looks very tasty!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jann, I've been very surprised at the number of people who have never had a meatball sandwich! I hope you'll give it a try and let me know how you liked it!

Daydreams of a Mum said...

My kids would love these , have popped on on next weeks menu . I especially like that it's all freezable !!! #blogcrush

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, mum! Let me know how they liked them.

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