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Italian Meatball Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground round or ground chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheese - parmesan or Romano or a hard, well-aged goat cheese
  • 2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
  • one good handful dried crushed parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic salt if you want
  • 1 qt tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 pint whole tomatoes, crushed
  • red wine
  • olive oil
  • salt pork
  • salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste
  • dry sweet basil
  • dry marjoram
  • 1 small onion - optional
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

(optional ingredients: cubed eggplant, mushrooms, fresh sweet red pepper pieces, dried crushed hot red chili, black Italian olives-chopped, green Greek olives-chopped---and anything else you can think of or want) Put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy large pot. Cut two slices from the salt pork about 1/4" thick each and trim off the rind (skin). Cut up the salt pork into small pieces. Heat up the olive oil to medium-high and add the salt pork. It should just barely sizzle. Finely chop up the onion and add it to the pot. Saute until the onion becomes translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute just until the garlic begins to turn golden. At this point you can add any of the optional stuff--chop it up to small pieces and stir the mixture in the pot well. Add one good handful of crushed dried basil, 1 medium handful of crushed dried marjoram and stir everything well. Saute all for about 3-4 minutes. Add the can of tomato paste. Clean the can out with the wine and add two cans of the wine. Stir well and add the whole tomatoes. Salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste and let this cook for about 10 minutes until everything is mixed well and bubbly. Add the sauce--adjust the seasonings if you like. Reduce the heat to simmer and let cook for about 1 hour. Place ground round or ground chuck, ground pork, cheese, well-aged goat cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, salt, pepper, and garlic salt in a large bowl and mix well. If the mixture seems to be very sticky add 1/2 cup milk and mix well again. We like very soft meatballs and the more milk you add the softer the final product will be, so you will have to decide how soft you want the meatball to be and adjust the milk. I would add all of it. Mix well. Form a small portion of the meat mixture into a ball about 2" in diameter. Form the rest of the meatballs in the same manner. An ice cream scoop makes them just about the right size. You can either fry or bake the meatball (add lots of flavor) or you can broil it (removes most of grease and fate). Whichever method you use, make sure you cook them to a nice crust on the outside. Drop the meatballs into the sauce and simmer for one more hour. Add a little water to the sauce if it seems to be real thick. To make the sandwich - use a crusty roll--hard roll (crusty on the outside, soft on the inside)--slice in half. Cut one or two meatballs in half and put on one slice of the roll. Spoon a little sauce over all, sprinkle with some Italian cheese (parmesan or romano) add a hot roasted chili pepper or a sweet roasted pimento--put the other half of the roll on top. Open mouth very wide and bite into sandwich. Enjoy!

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