A meatball sub (or meatball hero) is one of those things where making it at home is not only easier than you think but about 1 billion times better.
Bread Ingredients -
1.25 cups (295ml water
1 tablespoon instant yeast (10g)
3 1/2 (500g) cups ap flour
1 tablespoon sugar (13g)
2 teaspoons salt (5g)
2 tbsp lard or shortening (30g)
Parmegiano reggiano for topping
Sauce Ingredients -
1 can crushed tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
4 oz 120g pancetta or bacon
Handful of basil
Plus extra fresh basil to finish
Meatballs Ingredients -
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/3 cup 12g grated parmigiano reggiano
1 teaspoon 2g fennel seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
4 slices finely chopped prosciutto
3/4 cup 42g panko bread crumbs
In the bowl of a stand mixer, 3.5 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt. Whisk together.
Add 2 tablespoons of room temperature lard (bacon fat) and using two forks blend into the flour until fine little crumbs form.
Separately, get 1 ¼ cup of warm water (100℉) and mix in 1 tablespoon of instant yeast. Mix to combine.
Fix the dough hook to stand mixer and begin mixing on medium-low speed, add the yeast and let mix until it forms a nice beautiful dough. Continue to knead for 3-5 minutes.
Once the dough is smooth, remove from the stand mixer and gently form into a taut ball.
Place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled.
After doubling in size, punch the dough down and on a lightly floured work surface dump the dough out and divide it into two equal portions.
To shape, take an individual piece and form into a small ball then begin rolling into a cylinder, slowly working for your hands out to get a nice tapered 12” long log.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet diagonally, drape with a damp towel, and let proof for about 20 minutes.
Once down, take a sharp knife or razor and score it lengthwise at a 45-degree angle across the entire length of the dough. Optionally add a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano.
To bake, get a 10” skillet and fill with an inch of water bring to a boil. Once boiling, open a preheated 400℉ oven, put in the dough, and slide the steaming water on a rack underneath the dough. Optionally give a few spritzes of water.
Close the oven and let it steam bake for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, immediately and quickly remove the steaming water. Close the oven and let bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.
Place on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and let cool until room temperature.
Meatball Sauce Method:
Start by slicing and grinding 1lb of chuck roast and ½ lb of Boston pork to measure out to 1lb of ground beef and ½ lb of ground pork.
Once ground, knead the beef and pork together until fully combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together two eggs then add ⅓ cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano 1 teaspoon of ground fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh oregano leave, 3 slices of finely chopped prosciutto, optionally a little grated nutmeg, and mix until thoroughly combined.
Add fresh ground black pepper and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Then add ¾ cup of panko bread crumbs with a tiny splash of milk and whisk to combine. Add in the ground meat. Knead and mix until combined.
Take the meat and roll into separate pieces of balls and place onto a rimmed baking sheet.
In a 12” saute pan, fill up with 3.5 tablespoons of high heat oil and set over the stove at medium-high heat.
Once extremely hot, add in the meatballs and let sit and sear for 2-3 minutes until a deep brown crust has formed. Once done searing, set the balls to the side.
Slice and thick-cut 4 ounces of pancetta. Reduce the heat to medium with ½ cup of extra olive oil and toss in the pancetta sauteing and stirring occasionally until the majority of the fat is rendered out.
Add 5 cloves of garlic thinly sliced letting saute for 20 seconds then add a 28 ounce can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, season lightly with salt and pepper.
Bring up to a light simmer over medium heat. Add in the meatballs and let simmer until the meatballs are entirely cooked through. About 8-10 minutes.
Half one of the loaves. Cut through the center making sure not to cut all the way through. Place the bread on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, place in a broiler for 2-3 minutes until toasted.
Optionally mix together a few tablespoons of olive oil, a couple of grated cloves of garlic, a bit of flaky salt, and few twists of black pepper.
Once done toasting, brush the bread with the garlic olive oil.
Next, place the meatballs and sauce onto the bread. Cover with a little bit of the sauce. Top the meatballs with as much provolone as desired.
Place back under the broiler just until the cheese has melted. Add a generous amount of fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano and finish with some finely chopped fresh basil.