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~The Incredible Edible Italian-Style Meatball Sandwich~

6a0120a8551282970b0167614e72ac970bIt is Sunday afternoon in Melanie's Kitchen, and, this particular Sunday comes after a week of posting Italian food in general, including a lengthy post, found in Categories 3, 12 or 22 entitled: ~ Want to Get a Husband?  Practice Your Meatballs! ~.  I did not grow up in an Italian family, but I married into one, and, I would be an Italian housewife (by proxy), without a conscience, if I did not give equal time to the quintessential meatball sandwich.  That being said, you do not have to be Italian or marry into an Italian family to fall in love with this ooey-gooey cheesy, meaty, saucey sandwich.  A properly constructed meatball sandwich -- meatballs, sauce and cheese on a great Italian roll -- are a marriage made in Heaven.

There is no right or wrong recipe for an Italian meatball sandwich.  All I can do is share how I make them, which is how my husband and "his people" like them.  I have, however, on occasion, eaten a less than admirable meatball sandwich, and, it usually stems from someone using too soft-textured a roll, resulting in a soggy sandwich.  My other complaint is this:  often times the meatballs are hard, because the perpetrator is using an ill-conceived meat mixture, or, the meatballs haven't simmered in the sauce (which acts as a natural tenderizer) long enough.

PICT1869Here in Melanie's Kitchen, I make and fry meatballs in a huge batch, about once or twice a year.  I place them on disposable food-service trays that I buy at our local Sam's club, wrap each tray in plastic wrap, place them in food storage bags and stack them in my freezer.  I do not thaw my meatballs prior to removing the desired amount and dropping them into some of my simmering marinara sauce.

PICT1882For each sandwich:

1  7"-8" semi-firm Italian roll

2  slices provolone cheese

4  meatballs, simmered in sauce

3-4 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese

1  tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

fried peppers, packed in olive oil, for topping (optional)

PICT1936~ Secret 1.  If possible, buy rolls that are not pre-sliced and top-split them (this makes for a prettier presentation).  If your rolls are pre-sliced, usually side-split, don't worry, the sandwiches will be just as wonderful. 

Lightly toasting the inside of the roll goes a long way to keeping a meatball sandwich from getting soggy.  I use my indoor grill, but if you don't have one, place the split rolls in a toaster oven.

PICT1938~ Secret 2.  Placing cheese directly on the hot roll is going to accomplish two things:  

It is going to act as a buffer between the sauce and the roll, which is extra insurance that the roll will not get soggy.  It is also the glue that is going to keep your meatballs in one place while you eat the sandwich.  I place two slices of provolone cheese on each roll.  

Note:  I have cut each slice of cheese, somewhat into thirds, to fit the size of the roll.  This may or may not be necessary, depending upon the size of your roll.

To finish assembling:  Place four steaming hot meatballs on each sandwich, top with the grated mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggianno.  Place sandwiches on a parchment lined baking pan. about 5"-6" under a preheated broiler (in the upper third of the oven), just until cheese is melted, but not browned.  Serve immediately topped with optional fried peppers:

6a0120a8551282970b0163005986df970dThe Incredible Edible Italian-Style Meatball Sandwich:  Recipe yields instructions to make as many meatball sandwiches as you want.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; serrated bread knife; baking pan; parchment paper

Cook's Note:  While all of the ingredients for meatball sandwiches can be prepped well in advance, for best results, assemble and broil just prior to serving.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, commentary and photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


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