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Spicy Roman Meatball Heroes

Submitted by: | website: Mia Cucina

Spicy Roman Meatball Heroes
2012-02-18 Other
3 2

This sandwich was developed out of what to do with leftover meatballs. The spicy meatballs in this sandwich benefit greatly from the sweet taste of roasted red peppers.

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes*
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes


2 lb Ground Beef
2 Tbsp Bacon Grease
2 Large Garlic Cloves, crushed and finely chopped
1¼ cups Chopped Roasted Red Peppers
⅔ cup Italian Flavoured Breadcrumbs
2 Large Egg, beaten
¾ cup Coarsely Grated Onion
1 cup Freshly Grated Romano Cheese
1 Tbsp Minced Fresh Marjoram
2 tsp Dried Crushed Red Pepper
½ tsp Coarse Kosher Salt
½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
2 Large Cloves of Garlic, crushed and minced
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes, more or less to taste
2 Tbsp Basil Pesto
3 cups Your Favorite Tomato Sauce, either store bought or homemade
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp Fresh Basil, finely chopped
6 10" Italian Rolls
12 slices Provolone Cheese
Parmigiano Cheese
1 Yellow Onion, sliced into thin rings
1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced into thin rings



1. In a bowl, thoroughly combine the meatball ingredients that are listed beef through the black pepper.

2. Form mixture into golf ball sized (1 1/2-inch) meatballs; for a nicer finish, roll each meatball in additional dry breadcrumb before frying, it will also give you one last opportunity to make them round. Place finished meatballs on a plate and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes before frying.

3. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over moderately high heat and fry meatballs, in small batches, until browned on all sides and cooked through. Replenish olive oil as needed.


1. Place the olive oil in a high-sided sauté pan and heat on high until it is hot but not smoky, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium low and add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and basil pesto and fry until the garlic softens, do not allow the garlic to brown, about 1 minute.

2. Add about ½ cup of the tomato sauce and continue cooking, stirring constantly and caramelizing the tomato sauce, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the remaining tomato sauce and the balsamic, stir to thoroughly incorporate the vinegar, and correct seasoning with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Add the basil and fried meatballs and cook, covered, stirring occasionally over low heat for about 1/2 hour.

Sandwich construction:

1. Split each roll length-wise but leave one edge intact. Open each sandwich and lay 2 or 3 slices of Provolone on the open rolls (the cheese not only adds to the flavor but will help the sandwiches from getting too soggy).

2. Place 6 meatballs (or as many as will fit) on top of the cheese, top with some sauce, sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese and finally top with some onion and green pepper slices.


“Close” the sandwiches and serve accompanied by plenty of napkins and a glass of red wine or your favourite cold beverage.

Helpful Tips:

* Prep time includes 30 minutes of resting time for the formed meatballs