Imagine if you will, a still-warm-from-the-oven baguette, enclosing a perfectly tender, moist meatball that has been roasted in the oven with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. The bread is just a little crispy on the outside, warm and soft inside, and the meatball just naturally becomes one with this bread, creating that perfect meatball/cheese/bread moment that truly defines a great meatball sub.
Imagine no longer. I’m an absolute sucker for a good meatball, but when meatball meets bread, truly magical things are possible. Overstated? Perhaps, but if you have a fondness for the meatball sub, you just might want to give this a go and see for yourself..
For the meatball, I adapted a version of Tyler Florence’s ultimate meatball recipe.
I’ve used this recipe many times and it produces an amazingly moist, tender meatball. For the bread I baked a La Brea Bakery “bake at home” baguette and it provided the perfect crispy/soft roll with which to enclose those meatballs. Man, these were good.
For a printable recipe, click here
Recipe Adapted from Tyler Florence
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion (1/2 of a large onion), chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
½ cup milk
2 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 large egg
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.
Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Place the meat in a large bowl and add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture.
Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into 5 or 6 equal pieces and shape them into nice-looking meatballs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking pan and spoon about half of the marinara sauce over them. Shower with the mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Heat a good quality baguette and slice through, leaving a hinge on one side. Spread each side of the baguette with marinara sauce. Place meatballs on one half (you may need to slice them in half to fit) and top with a little more mozzarella and marinara, if desired. Eat while still warm!