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Ina Gartens Meatball Sandwich

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Adjust Servings:
1/2 pound Lean Ground Veal
1/2 pound Ground Pork
1 pound Lean Ground Beef
1 cup Bread Crumbs 4 slices, crusts removed
1/4 cup Seasoned Dry Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Large Eggs beaten
Vegtable Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Yellow Onion chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Cloves minced
1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
28oz Tomato Puree
1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley chopped
1 1/2 teapoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

Ina Gartens Meatball Sandwich

The sweet-smelling sauce is gushing out of all sides, melted cheese trailing after each bite...

  • 1 1/2 hours
  • Serves 4
  • Medium


  • Meatballs

  • Sauce



Around my house, if you can turn it into a sandwich, it is that much better than the original.

Take spaghetti and meatballs. I would be happy with the original, with a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

For whatever reason, sticking the meatballs between two slices of bread makes it all better, and he can’t get enough.  I don’t really understand it.  Pasta and bread have a similar flavor, albeit a different texture.

But no matter — meatball sandwiches are great.  Holding the crunchy roll between your hands — you have to use two hands — all the while, the sweet-smelling sauce is gushing out of all sides, melted cheese trailing after each bite.

I like to put on a pot of meatballs early in the day if I know I’ll be busy in the evening.  Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to Pilates after work.  These are cook-ahead days.  I can just make the meatballs, leave them on the stove, and as people get hungry they can make up a sandwich.

This is the first time I’ve used a veal/pork/ground beef combo for meatballs.  The meatballs have a much lighter texture with this mixture, as opposed to using straight ground beef.


Obviously, this works just as well with spaghetti.  In lieu of making a meatball sandwich, just substitute the bread for 1 1/2 pounds of cooked spaghetti.

When you are turning the meatballs, be very careful not to break them up, as they are pretty fragile.  It helps to divide the meatballs into two batches so you have room to move them around without smashing them.  Also, when you transfer the meatballs into the sauce to simmer, do so one at a time by hand or with a spoon so that they don’t break up.

I did not have crushed tomatoes for the sauce, only diced tomatoes.  All I did was follow the instructions the same with the diced tomatoes, but I used an immersion blender after the sauce was done and blended it a little bit.  I left the sauce a little chunky because I like it that way.  So there.

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Recipe Steps


Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl.  Combine very lightly with a fork (or your hands).


Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.


Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs.


Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.


For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.


Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.


Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.


Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.


Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.


Toast the French rolls in the oven until crispy on the outside. Place 3 to 4 meatballs with some sauce on the French roll and top with mozzarella cheese.


Tried and tested recipes I really make for my family and friends. Really. Simple, hearty comfort food made with fresh, local ingredients.

2 Reader Questions and Reviews Hide Comments

Hands down the best meatball recipe in the world. Tender beefy little clouds. I add sauteed fresh mushrooms to the sauce and use chicken broth rather than wine as we prefer a less sweet sauce. Meatball sandwiches…mmm..if only the meatballs lasted long enough to put into a roll!

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