All-time favorite meatball sub recipe

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If your favorite sandwich is a meatball sub, you have something in common with someone we all know. The tomato sauce spooned over the top of the meatballs has a slight sweetness to it, thanks to brown sugar. This is definitely a sub you’d take a bullet for, or at least, a pretend one.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cooking Time: 15 Minutes


For the Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • ½ tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (17.6-ounce) carton crushed tomatoes
  • 1½ tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper, to taste
For the Subs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 hoagie rolls, or 1 thick baguette (quartered), sliced open
  • 3–6 slices provolone cheese
How to Make It
    To make the Meatballs
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients with your hands, being mindful not to overwork the meat.
  2. Shape the meat mixture into small meatballs, about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter. Place on a small baking sheet or large plate and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, brown the meatballs on one side for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the meatballs over to brown on the other side, and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. To make the Tomato Sauce
  5. In the same medium skillet used to cook the meatballs, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat.
  6. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and stir. Stir in the minced garlic for just a minute more, being careful not to burn it.
  8. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the brown sugar, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, cumin, and nutmeg, and stir. Then add the meatballs and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir.
  10. To Complete the Sub
  11. Preheat the oven to its broiler setting.
  12. Spread the softened butter on each hoagie roll, and toast on a small baking sheet in the oven for just a minute or two.
  13. Spoon about ¼ cup of the tomato sauce on one side of each hoagie roll, top with one slice of provolone, then add three or four meatballs on top of the cheese. If desired, finish with a second slice of provolone on top of the meatballs.
  14. Return the baking sheet with the assembled subs to the oven or broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese has melted completely. Serve while hot.

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