Recipes Italian Meatball Subs

Italian Meatball Subs: A Culinary Journey of Flavors


The Italian meatball sub, a culinary masterpiece that has captured the hearts and taste buds of food enthusiasts worldwide, is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Italy. This delectable sandwich, featuring tender and juicy meatballs nestled within a soft and fluffy roll, is a symphony of flavors that tantalizes the senses. In this article, we embark on a culinary journey, exploring the origins, ingredients, and step-by-step instructions for crafting the perfect Italian meatball sub.

Origins and History

The origins of the Italian meatball sub can be traced back to the bustling streets of Naples, Italy, in the late 19th century. As Italian immigrants flocked to the United States, they brought with them their culinary traditions, including the beloved meatball sub. Over time, this sandwich evolved into a staple of American cuisine, becoming a popular choice for lunch, dinner, and gatherings.


The key to a mouthwatering Italian meatball sub lies in the quality and freshness of its ingredients. Here’s a comprehensive list of what you’ll need:

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Sauce:

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Subs:

  • 6 Italian rolls
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Step-by-Step Instructions

Making the Meatballs:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, onion, parsley, eggs, milk, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly combined.
  2. Form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides.
  4. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Making the Sauce:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper and cook until softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Assembling the Subs:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Slice the Italian rolls in half lengthwise.
  3. Spread some of the sauce on the bottom half of each roll.
  4. Top with the meatballs and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Close the sandwiches and place them on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serving Suggestions

Italian meatball subs are a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on their own or paired with a variety of sides. Here are some classic options:

  • French fries: Crispy and golden-brown, French fries are the perfect accompaniment to the savory flavors of the sub.
  • Onion rings: Crunchy and flavorful, onion rings add a touch of sweetness and crunch to the meal.
  • Coleslaw: A refreshing and tangy side dish, coleslaw provides a nice contrast to the richness of the sub.
  • Salad: A light and healthy option, a side salad with mixed greens, vegetables, and a light dressing balances out the meal.


The Italian meatball sub is a customizable dish that can be tailored to your taste preferences. Here are some popular variations:

  • Spicy: Add some crushed red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeños to the sauce for a kick of heat.
  • Vegetarian: Swap out the ground beef and pork for ground turkey or tofu to create a vegetarian version.
  • Chicken: Use ground chicken instead of beef and pork for a lighter and healthier alternative.
  • Cheese: Experiment with different types of cheese, such as provolone, cheddar, or fontina, to add variety to the flavor profile.


The Italian meatball sub is a culinary masterpiece that has stood the test of time. With its tender and juicy meatballs, flavorful sauce, and soft and fluffy roll, this sandwich is a symphony of flavors that delights the senses. Whether you enjoy it on its own or paired with your favorite sides, the Italian meatball sub is a dish that will satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more. So gather your ingredients, follow the step-by-step instructions, and embark on a culinary journey that will transport you to the bustling streets of Naples. Buon appetito!


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