Open-face Meatball Sandwich

My inner fat kid made me make this, and I'm loving her for it. If I want to be a serious deli owner someday, this had to be in the repertoire. 

I recently baked my first loaf of bread, thanks to my cooking buddy Jason. When we moved into our new apartment, he came over with a house warming gift of his yeast starter dating back to 2010. Yeast in a plastic cup, a real treat. Thanks, Jason. A month and a half later, I finally put it to use. With Jason's coaching, and my new cookbook, Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson, I successfully made my first two loaves of country bread. Oh, my. It's so good. No instant yeast, lots of messy flour all over the kitchen, and 2 days of patiently waiting later, I got my bread. A scary new obsession, I think.

Oh, but wait. It gets better. So much better. Homemade meatballs and marinara sauce. Slathered over a thick slice of fresh sourdough bread. Topped with fresh mozzarella, and melted under the broiler. Enjoyed with a glass of red wine. Here she is, my little, fat kid masterpiece of simple delight.

Open-face Meatball Sandwich

1 loaf fresh country loaf
1 ball fresh mozzarella

for the meatballs:
1/2 lb. ground beef (85%)
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 shallot (diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 egg (whisked)
3/4 cup bread crumbs
olive oil

for the marinara sauce:

1 yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
olive oil

Let me start by saying, making the meatballs, sauce and sandwich only took 1 hour. Not including the bread baking, but you can buy a loaf.

Start with the meatballs. Get your soup pot out, or whatever pot you would use to make a big batch of sauce in. Heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the beef and pork. Add the whisked egg, bread crumbs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cooked shallots and garlic with oil, oregano, s&p. Take off your rings and mash everything together until combined. Form into golf ball sized meatballs. 

Heat more olive oil in the same pot over medium- medium-high heat. Drop in the meatballs and cook each side until browned (2-3 minutes a side), about 10 minutes total. This gives the meatballs a good crust. Remove the meatballs to a plate. They won't be cooked all the way through, but they will simmer in the sauce later.

Don't you dare clean the pan! Leave all that flavor in there for the sauce to cook in. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Now add your red wine and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add both cans of tomatoes, salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir, raise heat to medium high, cover and bring to a simmer. When simmering, drop the meatballs back in to the sauce and let cook for 30 minutes, covered.

Now, you could stop there, cook some pasta and just serve spaghetti and meatballs. A delicious option. But I took it a step farther here.

Turn on your broiler and assemble your sandwich on a baking sheet. 1. Slice of thick bread. You want it thick to hold the heavy sauce and meatballs. 2. Meatballs, 2 of them. 3. 1 ladle of delicious marinara sauce over the bread and meatballs. 4. 2 thick slices of fresh mozzarella on top of the meatballs. 5. Put the baking sheet under the broiler until the cheese melts and starts to bubble. 6. Enjoy with a fork and knife, and a glass of wine.

It's okay to be a fat kid once in a while. So go ahead and make this. The leftovers can be stored in the fridge, and served for meals later in the week!

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