We watch a lot of sports in our household. My husband is a New York sports fan (Mets, Giants, Rangers, Knicks) and I’m straight-up Pittsburgh. When we aren’t cheering for our designated pro teams, we’re watching college football, horse racing, golf matches, and right now, the World Cup. For me, watching sports is not only an enjoyable pastime, it’s also a great reason to gather people together and put out a spread. One game day standby is meatball subs. Not only are they hearty and satisfying, but the meatballs are made in advance, so they are easy to assemble and quick to serve. My husband always gets excited when I make them.
For the Meatballs:
2 lbs ground beef, 90% lean
6 oz package sliced pepperoni, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 jars marinara sauce (roughly 24 oz each), store-bought or home-made
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Mix the first 14 ingredients together using a fork or your hands until just combined. Do not over-mix, unless you want tough meatballs.
3. Using your hands, form meatballs that are roughly the size of golf balls. Place the meatballs on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake the meatballs for about 20 minutes.
4. Place the meatballs in a large sauce pot and cover them with marinara sauce. Heat them on the stove over medium heat until the sauce in bubbling, then lower the heat to low and allow them to simmer until you make the sandwiches. If you are making the meatballs in advance, refrigerate them in the sauce, then reheat them in a saucepan on the stovetop before assembling the sandwiches.
For the Sandwiches:
8 hoagie rolls, sliced down the top center of each roll 3/4 of the way to the bottom, and hollowed out, leaving a 1/4 inch shell (to make room for the meatballs)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz thinly sliced provolone cheese
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp minced parsley
1 Tbsp minced basil
Meatballs in marinara sauce
1. Pre-heat the oven to broil. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the garlic and sauté it for 1 minute to infuse the butter with its flavor. Remove the skillet from the heat.
3. Place four hoagie rolls on each baking sheet, cut sides exposed. Brush the cut sides of the rolls with the butter-garlic mixture. Broil the rolls for 1 minute to toast them, one baking sheet at a time.
4. After toasting the rolls, place two slices of provolone, overlapping if necessary, in each hoagie roll. The cheese will help create a barrier between the meatballs and bread, preventing a soggy sandwich. Next, fill the hoagie roll with 3-4 meatballs. Top the meatballs with a healthy handful, of shredded mozzarella (they should be completely covered). Sprinkle each sandwich with Parmesan cheese. Return the baking sheets to the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes to melt the cheese.
5. Garnish the subs with minced parsley and basil. Serve immediately.
🍝 Leftover meatballs and sauce can be used for more sandwiches or served with pasta.