Use as much cheese as you like—don't be shy.
Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 3 hours
for the red sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
½ cup|125 ml red wine
1 ½ teaspoons Spanish paprika
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon frehsly ground black pepper
4 (28-ounce|794 gram) cans whole peeled tomatoes
for the meatballs:
1 pound|500 grams ground veal
1 pound|500 grams ground pork
¼ pound|120 grams ground pork fat
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, ground
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
½ bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup|240 grams ricotta cheese, as fresh as possible
3 large eggs, beaten
½ cup|125 ml whole milk
2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the sando:
1 each large baguette
all of the meatballs in sauce
½ pound|227 grams smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Put the olive oil in a heavy sauce pot and sweat the garlic, onions, and leeks over medium-high until they are translucent and start to take on color, about 5 minutes.
- Add the red wine and cook off the alcohol, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add the tomatoes and pour a lil' bit of water into the cans to get all the good stuff off the bottom and sides and add to pot. Let the sauce simmer, partially covered, for 30-45 minutes over a super low flame.
- Pull pan off of the stove and blend the sauce with either a stick blender or in batches with a countertop blender. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
- While the sauce is cooking, combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning by making a small patty out of the mixture and cooking it in a pan. Add salt and pepper if needed. If the mixture is too dry, add more milk; if you'd like it spicier, add more red pepper flakes—you get the idea.
- Portion the meatballs into 2-ounce|60-gram balls or eyeball it and make em whatever size your tum tum desires.
- Sear off the meatballs before braising (if you have a deep fryer, this step will be quick and easy)—at 250°F, blanche the balls for a few minutes until they get a crust and the color on the outside darkens. For those without a deep fryer, pour a few tablespoons of olive or canola oil into large heavy bottomed pan, and sear them over medium for a few minutes to trap the flavor inside.
- Heat the oven to 275°F. Place the seared meatballs in a deep roasting pan and cover them with the red sauce. You may have extra sauce, and that's ok. It freezes well. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 2 hours.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven, but keep the oven on. Cut the baguette into your preferred sandwich lengths and slice them open down the middle.
- Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese inside (use as much cheese as you like, don't be shy). Put the bread in the oven and toast it until the cheese melts.
- Remove the bread from the oven and line up the meatballs inside the bread (you'll see in the video that I cut the balls in half—it makes for a cleaner sandwich, or maybe I just have a small mouth). Pour some of the red sauce from the meatball pan over the top, sprinkle with more cheese, and enjoy.
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