Recipes, Student Life

Make your own meatball sub

Meatball subs are the quintessential Italian-American dish – a pizza, burger, and a pasta hybrid. They have all the flavors you could ask for in a meal, and they are hearty and filling. Making your own is simple, fun, and will certainly leave you satisfied (or wanting more).

This recipe uses ricotta to lighten the meatballs and the simple tomato sauce is worth making in bulk for future meals. To make this sub even more exciting, the rolls are smeared with garlic butter and broiled before adding the huge meatballs, melted cheese and finally dousing it with the tomato sauce. The final result is essentially a garlic bread sandwich. Drooling yet? Making these yourself only once will be enough to keep you from ever making the mistake of buying one.

Meatball Subs

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 slices of bread soaked in 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with baking spray.
  2. In the bowl with the soaking bread, add the ricotta, egg, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir, mashing against the sides of the bowl until it looks like a paste.
  3. Thoroughly mix the paste into the meat with your hands, trying not to over-mix.
  4. Form the mixture into about 12 meatballs and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.

For the tomato sauce:

  • 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • Salt to taste


  1. Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the meatballs to the sauce, making sure they are coated. Keep at a simmer over low heat.

Note: You can stop here to let the sauce and meatballs cool, and freeze them for future use or reheat them and continue with the following steps within two to three days.

For the subs:

  • 1 portion tomato sauce with meatballs
  • 4 large hoagie rolls, split in half
  • 4 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • 8 slices of provolone


  1. Preheat the broiler. Keep the sauce and meatballs over the heat at a simmer.
  2. Mix the butter and minced garlic and spread onto the rolls, dividing evenly between the four. Broil these until crusty and golden, about two minutes.
  3. Place three meatballs and lay two slices of cheese on the bottom half of the rolls. Place these in the oven for 30 seconds, until the cheese melts.
  4. Divide the remaining sauce over the top of the melted cheese. Cover with the top half of the roll and serve immediately.

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