The origins of the humble meatball are lost in time, with a myriad of incarnations across the world; From the English Rissole and the Swedish Kottbullar, to the Bun Cha of Vietnam and the Bakso of Indonesia. Everyone it would seem loves a good meatball. But let’s face it, no one has done it better than the Italian American immigrants of the 19th century, who first paired it with a fresh tomato sauce, and stuffed it onto Italian rolls with handfuls of tasty cheese. We love them in half like this, so that we can toast the cheese and get that beautiful golden crust. We know that you’ll love them just as much.
- Large baking tray
- Large bowl
- Stick blender or food processor
- 3 tbsp Panko Breadcrumbs
- 50 ml Whole Milk
- 300 g Minced Beef
- 300 g Minced Pork
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 3 cloves Garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 50 g Parmesan grated
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 small Onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes 400g
- 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 2 tbsp Fresh Basil
- Seasoning to taste.
- 4 Ciabatta Rolls
- 150 g Cheddar grated
- 100 g Parmesan grated
- In a large bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for about 10 minutes. Add in the meats, garlic, oregano and parmesan, season well, and mix until it's well blended. It's always best to fry a very small amount off to taste and ensure the seasoning is to your taste. Then break off into 28 walnut sized pieces and roll them into a ball. Place them on baking tray and chill for at least an hour.
- Add the olive oil to the saucepan and heat over a low flame. Add the onion and sweat for 5-10 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes. Add in the tinned tomatoes and the tomato puree, washing out the tin with cold water and adding that as well. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Allow the sauce to cool for 20 minutes, then blitz with the basil using a stick blender, or in a food processor.
- Heat the oven to 200C, 180C fan, gas mark 6. Place the meatballs on the tray into the middle of the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until they have a nice colour.
- Cut the ciabatta rolls into half lengthways, and give them a quick grill to toast and firm up the surface. Keep the grill ready.
- Reheat the sauce over a low flame, and when the meatballs are cooked, stir them in along with any juices. Keep the baking tray ready.
- Place the ciabatta halves onto the baking tray, then spoon 3-4 meatballs onto each half with plenty of sauce. Sprinkle over the cheddar and parmesan, then grill until the cheese has melted and is a golden brown.
- Take the sandwiches out from the grill, and allow them a couple of minutes to rest, before serving as they are.