MAINS/ Series/ Sunday Supper

The Greatest Meatball Sub

Hello and welcome to Sunday Supper! I am so excited for today’s recipe because this is literally The Greatest Meatball Sub I have ever had. Super flavorful meatballs, braised in a simple tomato sauce; nestled in cheesy, garlicky, toasted sub rolls. A savory olive relish tops the saucy meatballs for an explosion of rich, deep flavor. Hands down, this Meatball Sub is worth every minute and effort the recipe requires. These Meatball Subs do have a number of steps, but do not let that discourage you– each component is simple. Let’s get right to it!

Easy recipe, Sunday Supper, Italian, Sandwich, hot sandwich, meatballs, sub sandwich, olive relish, sub roll, best meatball recipe, best meatball sandwich, easy meatballs, the greatest meatball sub

This recipe is by Matty Matheson, and it’s the first recipe of his I have featured on Djalali Cooks. Matheson is a chef after my own heart; he loves pizza, for one. And for two, he is not that concerned with perfection.

Meatballs

Let’s start with the meatballs. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. I have about 1 pound each ground beef, ground lamb and ground pork. You can use any combination of meat you like. Or go all ground beef. I will say that a combination of meats is the best way to go; a combination adds depth of flavor to the meatballs.

Start with three slices of day old bread. Tear them up into pieces, toss them in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of milk. Squish the bread down into the milk and let it soak up the milk while we prep the rest of the ingredients.

meatballs, meatball sub, meatball sandwich, sandwich, hot sandwich recipe, easy meatballs, quick meatballs, italian-american, meatball ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the three pounds of ground meat. We also have olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, dry breadcrumbs, powdered Parmesan cheese, tomato paste, fresh garlic and three eggs. Add everything but the soaking breadcrumbs to the bowl with the ground meat. Then grate the garlic cloves directly into the bowl. Add about 7-10 cranks of fresh cracked black pepper to the mix. Use your hands to mix and incorporate everything really well.

Once the meat mix is well-mixed, add the wet bread mixture and about 1 cup of chopped fresh parsley to the bowl and mix again with your hands. Line a large sheet tray with parchment and use a large ice cream scoop (spray the scoop with cooking spray) to portion the meatballs.

Get 12 meatballs on your sheet tray. Then spray your hands with cooking spray and form the meatballs into tight balls.

meatballs, meatball sub, meatball sandwich, sandwich, hot sandwich recipe, easy meatballs, quick meatballs, italian-american

Pop these 12 meatballs in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Use the same method to make meatballs out of any remaining meat mixture and freeze them for later use. I had enough to make 6 extra meatballs.

The Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce ingredients, easy tomato sauce, tomato braise, sandwich sauce, meatball sub sauce, italian-american

In a Dutch oven or large pot, pour enough olive oil in the pot to completely cover the bottom to the pot. Over medium heat, get the oil warming up and add the diced onion to the pot. Let the onions cook while stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent. Then add the thinly sliced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the crushed red pepper flakes and the fresh basil.

Stir and let the basil cook for about 30 seconds, then add the tomato paste. Stir and cook the tomato paste for about 2 minutes, until the paste darkens in color.

Add the tomato puree and 3 cups of water. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

By now, your meatballs should be ready. They should be browned on top and the bottoms should be brown and crisped – with a nice fond on the bottom. Let the meatballs braise and simmer in the tomato sauce for 1.5 hours.

Olive Relish

Let’s move on to the olive relish. This component is optional, The Greatest Meatball Sub will still be great without it. But let me encourage you to go the extra mile here and make the relish. You will have extra (it will keep in the fridge for a while), and once you try it, you’ll want to put it on everything.

Olive Relish, Condiment, olives, jalapeños, relish, easy relish, Italian Relish, Sandwich relish, relish ingredients

We have Anchovy fillets, pitted green olives, pickled jalapeños, fresh garlic, olive oil, and roasted red peppers. Toss all of these into a food processor with a drizzle of olive oil and pulse until a chunky relish consistency is reached.

Olive Relish, Condiment, olives, jalapeños, relish, easy relish, Italian Relish, Sandwich relish

Then, transfer to a bowl and add about 1 cup of chopped fresh parsley and fresh cracked black pepper. Stir in the parsley and pepper and add a few more drizzles of olive oil. Stir in a dash of white vinegar or lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add Kosher salt and more black pepper if desired. Set the relish aside.

The Garlic Cheesy Bread

When your meatballs have been braising for about 1.5 hours. Turn off the heat under the sauce and let’s get to the sub roll. I have a footlong sub roll. This will make a sub big enough for two people to share. Slice the sub roll in half lengthwise (leave one side still connected). Place the sliced sub roll on a parchment lined sheet tray. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small saucepan and grate 3-4 cloves of garlic into the melted butter. Then brush both insides of the sub roll with the melted garlic butter.

Place the buttered sub roll in the still-hot oven for a few minutes, just until the edges of the roll are toasty brown. Remove from the oven and cover both sides of the sub roll with grated mozzarella cheese. Top the mozzarella with grated Parmesan.

Place back in the oven for a few more minutes – just until the cheese is gooey and melted, but not bubbling and browning.

Assemble The Greatest Meatball Sub

The moment has arrived! I hope you’re still with me. The best is still to come. With a footlong sub, I can fit 4 meatballs. If you have a 6 or 7-inch sub roll, you can fit 3 meatballs. Use a spoon to transfer four meatballs to the sub roll.

I had a little bit of cheese leftover so I threw that on top of the meatballs. Spoon on the olive relish on top of the meatballs.

Sprinkle more chopped parsley on the relish-covered meatballs, if you have some left. Fold the top half of the sub roll over the meatballs.

Easy recipe, Sunday Supper, Italian, Sandwich, hot sandwich, meatballs, sub sandwich, olive relish, sub roll, best meatball recipe, best meatball sandwich, easy meatballs, the greatest meatball sub

With one hand, hold the top down on the meatballs and use a serrated knife to slice the sub into four pieces. Slice between each meatball.

Easy recipe, Sunday Supper, Italian, Sandwich, hot sandwich, meatballs, sub sandwich, olive relish, sub roll, best meatball recipe, best meatball sandwich, easy meatballs, the greatest meatball sub

This is a serious meatball sub – it’s not called The Greatest Meatball Sub for nothin’. I know the recipe looks long. I know the steps might seem like too much. But think of this as meal prep; you’re going to have uncooked meatballs to freeze and use another time. You’re going to have leftover meatballs braised in a deliciously rich tomato sauce to use later in the week for pasta, over rice, or on a pizza (stay tuned for that!). Definitely make this sub! Let me know how it goes for you, here in the comments, on Instagram or send me a note through my Say Hello page. Take care and be well, everyone! xo Kelly

Easy recipe, Sunday Supper, Italian, Sandwich, hot sandwich, meatballs, sub sandwich, olive relish, sub roll, best meatball recipe, best meatball sandwich, easy meatballs, the greatest meatball sub

Kitchen Equipment and Utensils Used in This Recipe

The Greatest Meatball Sub

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...
Dinner, Main Course, Lunch Italian-American
By Matty Matheson Serves: 1 Sub per 2 People
Prep Time: 45 Minutes Cooking Time: 2 Hours Total Time: 2 Hours, 45 Minutes

Seriously the best meatball sub of your entire life! Today we make Matty Matheson's Greatest Meatball Sub. Rich, cheesy, messy deliciousness!

Ingredients

  • Meatballs
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Ground Lamb
  • 3 slices Day Old Sliced Bread
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Dried Bread Crumbs
  • 3 Whole Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Powdered Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Black Pepper
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Cooking Spray
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • 3 large Garlic Cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 28-30 oz. Tomato Puree
  • 3 cups Water
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Relish
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 4 Anchovy Fillets
  • 2 tbsp. Capers
  • 1/2 cup Pitted Green Olives
  • 1/2 cup Pickled Jalapeños
  • 1-2 Roasted Red Peppers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Parsley, including stems roughly chopped
  • Dash of Vinegar or Lemon Juice
  • Meatball Subs
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, grated
  • Footlong Sub Roll (one footlong serves 2 people, scale up with more rolls as needed)
  • About 1 cup Grated Mozzarella
  • Grated Parmigiano Regiano

Instructions

Meatballs

1

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

2

Tear up three slices of day old bread and toss the pieces in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of milk. Squish the bread down into the milk and let it soak up the milk while we prep the rest of the ingredients.

3

In a large bowl, combine the three pounds of ground meat.

4

Add everything but the soaking breadcrumbs to the bowl with the ground meat. Then grate the garlic cloves directly into the bowl. Add about 7-10 cranks of fresh cracked black pepper to the mix. Use your hands to mix and incorporate everything really well.

5

Once the meat mix is well-mixed, add the wet bread mixture and about 1 cup of chopped fresh parsley to bowl and mix again with your hands.

6

Line a large sheet tray with parchment and use a large ice cream scoop to portion the meatballs.

7

Get 12 meatballs on your sheet tray. Then spray your hands with cooking spray and form the meatballs into tight balls.

8

Pop these 12 meatballs in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Tomato Sauce

9

In a Dutch oven or large pot, pour enough olive oil in the pot to completely cover the bottom to the pot.

10

Over medium heat, get the oil warming up and add the diced onion to the pot. Let the onions cook while stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent.

11

Then add the thinly sliced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the crushed red pepper flakes and the fresh basil.

12

Stir and let the basil cook for about 30 seconds, then add the tomato paste. Stir and cook the tomato paste for about 2 minutes, until the paste darkens in color.

13

Add the tomato puree and 3 cups of water. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

14

After 30 minutes in the oven, the meatballs should be nicely browned. Add them to the tomato sauce and let the whole pot simmer over low - medium/low heat for 1.5 hours.

Olive Relish

15

Toss all of the relish ingredients and a drizzle of olive oil into a food processor and pulse until a chunky relish consistency is reached.

16

Transfer the relish to a bowl and add about 1 cup of chopped fresh parsley and fresh cracked black pepper. Stir in the parsley and pepper and add a few more drizzles of olive oil. Stir in a dash of white vinegar or lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add Kosher salt and more black pepper if desired. Set the relish aside.

Garlic Cheesy Bread

17

Slice the sub roll in half lengthwise (leave one side still connected). Place the sliced sub roll on a parchment lined sheet tray. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small saucepan and grate 3-4 cloves of garlic into the melted butter. Then brush both insides of the sub roll with the melted garlic butter.

18

Place the buttered sub roll in the still-hot oven for a few minutes, just until the edges of the roll are toasty brown.

19

Remove from oven and cover both sides of the sub roll with grated mozzarella cheese. Top the mozzarella with grated Parmesan. Place back in the oven for a few more minutes – just until the cheese gooey and melted, but not bubbling and browning.

Assemble the Meatball Sub

20

Use a spoon to transfer four meatballs to the sub roll.

21

Spoon on the olive relish on top of the meatballs.

22

Fold the top half of the sub roll over the meatballs.

23

With one hand, hold the top down on the meatballs and use a serrated knife to slice the sub into four pieces. Slice between each meatball.

You Might Also Like

  • Susan
    January 9, 2022 at 9:29 am

    Love a great meatball sub. The great take away for me in this recipe (since I already use my mom’s meatball recipe), is the prep for the roll- will be trying! Thanks!

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 9, 2022 at 1:52 pm

      Hi Susan, yes the roll! It’s so good toasted with the garlic butter. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment today! Have a great Sunday, xo Kelly

  • Rhea
    January 9, 2022 at 10:43 am

    You had me at “olive relish.” These soind decadent.

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 9, 2022 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Rhea, if you make nothing else from this recipe, the olive relish is amazing! It would be great on all kinds of other dishes. Thank you for reading today’s post! Have a beautiful day, xo Kelly

  • Terry
    January 9, 2022 at 11:55 am

    What a great sandwich. I can see making this for the playoffs, super bowl. A mouth full of deliciousness. Yumm I’m adding this to my line up. Have a great Sunday kelly ?❤️Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 9, 2022 at 1:54 pm

      Hey Mom, it would be perfect for the Super Bowl! Let me know how it turns out for you, xo Kelly

  • Mari
    January 9, 2022 at 11:59 am

    This is the third time I left a comment. I keep getting interrupted before I can post it, and it disappears. Somewhere. My iPad is like the Bermuda Triangle. Things go In and disappear. They are never seen again, so here’s hoping the third time really is the charm. I love these quick, easy, delicious recipes. Even better, I have almost everything I need for a fabulous Sunday Supper, except that I am missing a few things and need to go shopping tomorrow, so this will be Monday Meatball Madness instead of Sunday Supper. I seriously need to clear out my refrigerator before I put anything else in it. This is because Thursday was uh oh Mari went to Costco and bought things day. My fridge looks like a very intricate jigsaw puzzle, or an insane game of Jenga. Everything is on top of something else, and it’s scary. This afternoon I will toss things out, organize the rest, and make supper out of what is left. This would be a great time to repost how you organized your fridge and pantry. Some people named Mari need a refresher course. Does anyone else think that we diehard Djalali Cooks fans need a name? So far I have Cookies, or Djalalipops. I am definitely open to suggestions. Feel free to jump in and play the name game. But don’t even think about that dreadful song of the same name. It will never go away. D**n it.

    Happy Sunday and hugs to Kelly, Alex, Terry, Dante, Sophie, Penny, and the blog sisters. We are expecting ice and rain, not that we want it. Stay warm, eat meatball subs and watch a movie. If you are in the mood for a comedy, think of me clearing out the fridge. That will cheer you up! It never makes me laugh, but my kids and friends think it’s hilarious.

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 9, 2022 at 1:55 pm

      Hello Mari, cleaning out the fridge is a great Sunday activity! I know what you mean about a Costco run! LOL! Happy Sunday to you, have a wonderful end to your weekend. xo Kelly

  • Frances Eleanor
    January 9, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    I really like this meatball recipe. I am going to follow it, and make the sauce,but serve it over pasta. Thanks. I love how you Clearly you write and enhance understanding with your photography.

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 9, 2022 at 1:57 pm

      Good afternoon, Frances. Thank you so much! I think you will really enjoy these meatballs over pasta. For my leftover meatballs, I will finish them over pasta – I am already looking forward to their final act! Have a wonderful Sunday! xo Kelly

  • Sylvia Espinoza
    January 9, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    What a tempting recipe! Seems laborious, yet if made lovingly, is worth the work! Your step by step instructions are so darn good, Kelly! Thanks for the introduction to Matty Matheson, too. You never fail to deliver! Hugs~

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 9, 2022 at 1:59 pm

      Hello Sylvia, Yes – there are a lot of steps, but each step is super simple, so it ends up taking a while, but it’s not all active work. Thank you so much for leaving a comment today, it’s always great to hear from you! Have a great Sunday! xo Kelly