Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Better than Subway: Home-made meatball marinara sub

I love Subway's meatball marinara subs - while they can be a bit messy (the meatballs have a tendency to fall out of the bottom if you're not careful), the combination of soft bun, saucy meatballs, and melted cheese is irresistably good (top tip: add a drizzle of BBQ sauce for extra deliciousness - once you've tried it you won't go back!)

So - following in the footsteps of the gourmet burger joints which seem to be popping up everywhere at the moment - I've created my own, upgraded verison of the meatball sub.

Homemade meatballs

I like to make a double portion of these - half for spaghetti and meatballs, half for my subs:
1 pound extra lean beef mince
1 pound lean pork mince (this gives the meatballs a lighter texture, but feel free to substitute with extra beef if you prefer)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs
Dried breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Olive oil (for cooking)

Leftover meatballs and marinara sauce - ready to be 'subbed'!

Place your mince into a large mixing bowl with the eggs and crushed garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix everything together with your fingers. Add as many dried breadcrumbs as you need to achieve a good consistency - the meat mixture should be moist, but easy to shape.

Roll the meat mixture in the palm of your hand to form your meatballs. The smaller they are, the faster they will cook. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and add your meatballs. Turn every few minutes until brown on all sides, then lower the heat (to avoid burning) and continue to fry until they are cooked all the way through (I recommend cutting one open to check).

Marinara sauce

Again, if you're making spaghetti and meatballs in the same week, it's easy enough to make a double batch of this and save half until you need it. If you're only making the subs and can't be bothered to make a tomato sauce from scratch, a jar of pasta sauce is nearly as good.

1 jar tomato passata or two tins chopped tomatoes
Squeeze tomato puree
Glug of red wine
2 cloves garlic
Fresh basil, roughly torn
Salt and pepper

If you like your marinara sauce sweet, add a small dollop of tomato ketchup or half a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce.

This couldn't be simpler to cook - simply add everything into a pan and simmer for 20 minutes or so. The quantities of the different ingredients can all be adjusted to taste.

Hot ciabatta with melted cheese

Final steps

Bake-at-home ciabatta
Grated mozarella cheese
Toppings - I like to add lettuce, sweetcorn and black olives, along with a drizzle of BBQ sauce, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Cook your ciabatta as per instructions on the packet (it should take about 10 minutes). When it's done,  slice the roll down the centre, and sprinkle each half with grated mozarella cheese. Pop the two halves under the grill for a minute or so until the cheese is melted.

Cut your meatballs in two, and place them (flat side down) onto one half of your cheesy toasted ciabatta. Spread the other ciabatta half with your marinara sauce. Add your toppings, BBQ sauce, and parmesan cheese. Carefully bring the two sides of the ciabatta together, cut into two, and serve.

And there you have it: a gourmet meatball marinara sub. Delicious.