These aren’t your ordinary Italian meatballs in this sandwich! Their flavor is enhanced by the addition of prosciutto, pancetta, and mild Italian sausage which take these Italian Meatball Sandwiches over the TOP! A layer of cheese and sauce underneath the meatballs as well as over the meatballs makes this extra cheesier!
For the Meatballs
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 slice of prosciutto cut ¼” thick, sliced into strips and then ground
- 2 slices of pancetta cut ¼” thick, then diced, sliced into strips and then ground
- 1 pound ground round beef
- 1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
- 2 cups Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 jumbo eggs
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- ⅛ cup chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup finely grated pecorino cheese (you can also use asiago)
- 2 Tbsp. Italian seasonings (dried or fresh Italian herbs: oregano, sage, rosemary, basil, etc.)
- 1–½ tsp. whole fennel seeds
For the Sauce
- 2 jars homemade or store-bought marinara sauce (plain)
- 2 Tbsp. Italian seasonings (dried or fresh), extra if needed to suit your taste preferences (which I tend to heavily season my sauces)
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. freshly cracked sea salt
For the buns
- 1 – 2 hefty breads (Ciabatta) or large hoagie/submarine buns
- olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove cut in half
- 2 balls of fresh mozzarella, sliced about ⅛ – ¼” thick
- Pour olive oil in large heavy pot on a medium heat stove.
- Saute’ onions until clear and transparent.
- Add garlic and saute’ for 2 more minutes making sure that the garlic does not burn.
- Add the ground prosciutto and ground pancetta to saute’ for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and place in a very large mixing bowl.
- Allow to cool.
- Add the ground round beef and ground Italian sausage; mix slightly.
- Add remaining meatball ingredients and thoroughly mix everything together BY HAND.
- Form 2 or 3 ounce balls (use a little scale to weight them) and place on a well-oiled baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 – 45 minutes on 375 F degrees.
- Turn the meatballs over occasionally to brown on several sides.
- In a large, heavy sauce pan, on a low-medium heat stove, prepare the marinara sauce with all ingredients listed — making sure that the bottom of the sauce does not burn.
- When meatballs are finished baking, immerse them in the marinara sauce (optional).
- Slice buns in half.
- Brush olive oil on each half of the buns.
- Rub the sliced garlic clove generously all over the olive oil, using the cut side of the garlic.
- Roast the buns on a baking sheet in a 400 F degree oven until golden brown — keeping an eye on them so they do not burn.
Prepare the Meatball Sandwiches
- Spoon a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom half of each bun.
- Layer 2 – 3 slices of provolone cheese on top of the marinara sauce.
- Place 3 meatballs on top of cheese.
- Spoon marinara sauce over the meatballs.
- Generously layer the sliced fresh mozzarella on top of sauce.
- Bake in 400 F degree oven until cheese melts and turns golden brown.