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Meatball sandwiches recipe

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Adjust Servings:
For the Meatballs
30 g (about one slice) stale white sourdough Bread
1½ tbsp Milk
½ small Red Onion , finely diced
small bunch of flat leaf Parsley , leaves only, finely chopped
250 g minced Beef
250 g minced Pork
60 g Parmesan Cheese , finely grated
1 sprig of Rosemary , leaves only, finely chopped
3 sprigs of Thyme , leaves only, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fine Sea Salt
1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Egg
a little plain Flour , for dusting
For the Sauce
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Tomato purée
2 × 400g cans chopped Tomato
250 ml Water
1 bunch of Basil , leaves only
freshly ground Black Pepper , to taste
To Serve
8 slices of sourdough Bread , rolls or Cream Buns
grated Cheese (optional)

Meatball sandwiches recipe

  • Serves 4
  • Medium


  • For the Meatballs

  • For the Sauce

  • To Serve



The meatball sandwich must be one of the greatest and most excessive expressions of the art of American sandwich making. A good meatball sandwich is humongous, delicious, and absolutely merits the effort of cooking your own meatballs. If you don’t like pork, you can use all beef or lamb. The quantities here can easily be doubled or even tripled you could make more than you need, and serve the rest with pasta.



First, make the meatballs. Soak the bread in the milk until it’s absorbed, then squeeze it to remove any excess liquid (there may not be any, depending on how dry your bread was to begin with). Tip the soggy bread into a large bowl and add all the other meatball ingredients apart from the flour. Mix together well with your hands to combine thoroughly, but don’t overwork. Go gently and use your fingers lightly: don’t squish or pummel. Use your hands to shape the mixture into 12 meatballs. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper and sit them on it. Cover with cling film, and chill for at least an hour.


To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pan. Fry the sliced garlic briefly for about a minute, taking care not to let it colour. Add the tomato purée and cook for a couple of minutes, until it becomes darker and richer in colour. Add the tomatoes and water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and add the whole basil leaves.


Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Dust the meatballs in a very light coating of plain flour, shaking the baking sheet to ensure they’re completely covered. Bake for 8–10 minutes to sear them on their outsides they don’t need to cook through, just take on a nice colour. While the meatballs are baking, take a large, deep baking dish about 20 cm × 28 cm and 7 cm deep is ideal – and pour in the sauce. Take the meatballs out of the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4. Float the seared meatballs in the sauce, leaving their tops bobbing above the surface, then return the whole thing to the oven for an hour.


Either serve immediately, or, for an even tastier sandwich, cool, then reheat thoroughly in the oven the next day before serving. Excellent between two slices of sourdough, or crammed into a cream bun, not forgetting a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan, Gruyère or Comté to top them off. Cook in the oven or under the grill to melt the cheese.


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