Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Meatball Subs with Classic Beef Meatballs and Roasted Tomato Sauce

My youngest daughter loves meatballs – turkey, beef, from restaurants or even pre-made packages. Some of the packaged ones are ok, but I usually would toss some sausage in the sauce as well, and the rest of us would prefer that over the meatballs.  After a pretty mediocre packaged meatballs a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I was going to make my own.

I have fond memories of making lasagna with my parents, but I also remember the time and effort it took.  We usually made mini meatballs, which means you are rolling them for quite a while.  And then they were fried in batches, which also took a while.  I had ground beef in the freezer and knew I wanted them baked, so those were the criteria for the meatball recipe I found. My recipe is closely based on this classic beef meatball recipe from epicurious.com.

We hosted a party at our house this past weekend and we had a lot of leftover vegetables.  There were too many cherry tomatoes to eat, so I decided to roast them and add them to the sauce.  This was the basis for the roasted tomato sauce.  I also threw in some of the baby carrots.


1/4 cup olive oil

3 pounds lean ground beef (I used 90%)

1 1/2 cups ricotta

3 large eggs

3/4 cup bread crumbs

3/8 cup dried parsley

2 teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3/4 teaspoon ground fennel

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 onion diced

4 garlic cloves

1/2 yellow bell pepper

3 handfuls of baby carrots (roughly equal to 3 full size carrots)

2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)

1 tablespoon each of oregano, basil and garlic powder

4 nice sub rolls

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Meatball Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil into a one regular sized 9×13 inch baking dish and a secondary smaller casserole dish

2.  Combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and fennel in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated

3.  Roll the mixture into round, golf size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches – I used an ice cream scoop to help), making sure to pack the meat firmly.  Place the balls in the prepped baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly in even rows vertically and horizontally.  The meatballs should be touching

4.  Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through

Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  Spread cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves into baking dish in single layer.  Sprinkle diced onions on top.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper

3.  Roast tomatoes for 30 minutes until tomatoes

4.  Add roasted vegetable mix to blender and add in pepper and carrots.  Blend until smooth

5.  Put blended tomato mixture in saucepan with canned crushed tomatoes, add oregano, garlic powder and basil.  Stir and let simmer for 25-30 minutes.  Add meatballs to sauce and simmer for additional 15 minutes

Meatball Sub Directions

1.  Cut roll in half lengthwise

2.  Moisten bread with sauce (as you would put mayo or mustard on a sandwich)

3.  Add in 3 meatballs and layer with some additional sauce on top

4.  Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese and broil for 4 minutes until cheese is melted


I think I’m scarred from packaged meatballs.  I don’t think I can do it again.  These were awesome.  They paired very nicely with the roasted tomato sauce and I picked some perfect sub rolls.  It makes me very happy when things all come together.


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One thought on “Meatball Subs with Classic Beef Meatballs and Roasted Tomato Sauce

  1. I thought you told me you were scarred for life and would never make meatballs again.

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