Food & dining

Recipe for meatball subs

Makes 24 meatballs or enough for eight 8-inch subs

“I’ve been making these so long I could do it in my sleep,” says Paul Ursino, as he holds up a well-worn Italian implement (a hollow metal ball at the end of tongs) to illustrate the perfect size (¼ cup) for the beef, veal, and pork orbs in his subs. “I taught him how to make them, Sicilian-style,” says his wife, Joanne, who comes from the island. The meatballs cook in a sauce made with crushed canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, and dried basil. “No oregano! That’s for pizza sauce,” says Paul Ursino emphatically. By the time the meatballs are done the sauce turns from ruby red to a mellow garnet. This recipe doubles easily.


½pound ground beef
½pound ground pork
½pound ground veal
3cloves garlic, finely chopped
¾cup grated mixed
Parmesan and romano
1egg, lightly beaten
cups plain breadcrumbs
½cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
2tablespoons olive oil
(for frying)

1. Have on hand 2 rimmed baking sheets.


2. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, pork, veal, garlic, cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Using a fork or your hands, mix until evenly combined.

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3. With a ¼-cup measure, scoop the meat mixture and shape it into generous 2-inch balls. Arrange them on one of the baking sheets.

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add half the meatballs in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes or until the meat begins to brown. With tongs, turn each ball and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove the cooked meatballs from the pan and place them on the clean baking sheet. Cook the remaining meatballs in the oil left in the pan.


3tablespoons olive oil
2onions, chopped
1green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into
1-inch pieces
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
3cups water
1tablespoon dried basil
3garlic cloves, smashed
½cup chopped fresh parsley
8sub rolls (8 inches each)
½cup mixed grated
Parmesan and Romano (for sprinkling)

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, bell pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.


2. Stir in the tomatoes and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the basil, garlic, and parsley. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes, or until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken.

3. Add the meatballs and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or black pepper, if you like.

4. Slice the rolls open on the top, down the center but not through the bread. Gently spread them open so you can top-load the meatballs. Set each roll on a plate.

5. Spoon a small amount of sauce over the bottom of the bread. Place 3 meatballs in the sub, slightly breaking them open with the side of the spoon. Sprinkle more sauce on top of the meatballs. Sprinkle with cheese.
Adapted from Salem Food Store