Sunday, December 2, 2007

Man Food: Meatball Heroes

Another man's day has come and gone, after a bit of a hiatus while Mr.W was out of town. To comemmorate this return to normalcy I made one of their favorites: Meatball Heroes.

A meatball sandwich is quintessential man food. Meat. Sauce. Cheese. Bread. So simple, but oh, so good.

Meatball Heroes
serves 6 manly men--but eat fast!

olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced vertically
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 26-ounce jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce* plus one jar of water
1 28-ounce of peeled tomatoes
4 pounds 80% lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flake to taste
2 loaves unsliced italian bread, split lengthwise
grated parmesan cheese
about 2-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

*A note on jarred spaghetti sauce: I find that it's handy to have this in the pantry, and perfect for a quick starter sauce--meaning you do need to add onions, garlic, balsamic or whatever your favorite italian flavors are. Avoid sauces that contain added sugar or corn syrup. Of course you could use the equivalent amount of homemade sauce, if desired.

Heat a large pot over a medium-high flame. Saute sliced onion in olive oil until transparent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the jarred sauce and water.

In a separate bowl with high sides, squish up those whole tomatoes with your hands. You could use a knife or scissors, I suppose, but I like to hand-squish, because it breaks the tomatoes up into really small bits. Add to your sauce in the pot. Season sauce with salt, pepper and red pepper flake to taste. Set over a low flame with a lid.

In a large bowl, place your ground beef and season with salt and pepper. I go easy on the seasoning, myself, because they're going to get some really great flavor from the sauce later. Mix the meat with seasonings with your hands and gently roll meatballs the size of ping-pong balls. You should handle the ground beef as little as possible here--an over-rolled meatball will be tough. Meatballs should be tender when you bite into them.

Heat a large skillet over a medium flame. Brown meatballs in batches in olive oil. As they become browned on all sides, add them to the simmering sauce a few at a time, then add more meatballs to the skillet as room is made available.

When all meatballs have been added to the sauce, let them simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking at the bottom of the pot. Not only will your meatballs cook further, your sauce will be flavored by the meat and reduced to a somewhat thicker consistency. This is going to be SO GOOD.

While meatballs are simmering, preheat your oven to 350*F.

When the 30 minutes has passed, turn off the flame and lay your four bread halves out on a lightly greased cookie sheet and start adding meatballs to two halves. Spread some sauce on the other two halves and sprinkle everything with parmesan cheese. Top the meatball sides with shredded mozzarella cheese and put in the oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is nice and melty.

Remove from oven. Carefully put those sandwich lids back on. Cut into serving pieces and enjoy.

Serve this to your menfolk and let the crowds rejoice!

At my house these sammies were devoured in mere minutes. Mr.W is sitting next to me as I type this saying, "Man, those were SO good!"

I think that says it all, folks.

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