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Italian Sloppy Joe Recipe

It's a rich and comforting meat sauce smashed between 2 slices of cheesy garlic bread—what's not to love?
Italian Sloppy Joe Recipe
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Servings: 8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


for the bolognese:
1 (28-ounce|794-gram) can whole peeled tomatoes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 pounds|907 grams ground beef
1 pound|454 grams ground pork
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup|237 ml red wine
½ cup|118 ml whole milk

for the garlic bread:
1 loaf ciabatta
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
kosher salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella
chili flakes
fresh parsley


for serving:
fresh basil, thinly sliced
powdered parmesan cheese


  1. Make the bolognese: Place the tomatoes in a blender and purée until smooth.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the carrots and onion and cook until the onion is soft, 6 minutes. Add the beef and pork and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until the meat has browned, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine. Cook until it has almost evaporated, 3 minutes. Stir in the puréed tomatoes and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, make the garlic bread: Using the back of a knife on a cutting board, smash the garlic. Sprinkle with salt and, while continuing using the back of the knife, smash the garlic into a paste. Throw it in a bowl with the butter and stir to combine.
  4. Heat the oven to broil. Slice the ciabatta down the middle lengthwise. Spread the butter on both cut sides and transfer to a aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, buttered side up. Top each buttered side with cheese and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the herbs and chili flakes. Top the bottom half with bolognese and sprinkle with basil and parmesan cheese.

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