cheese | food | italian | meals | meat | recipe | sauce | savory | subs/sandwiches

I’ve got some balls. Meatballs, that is.

May 15, 2010

It is true. I’ve been told many times in my life that I “had quite a set on me” or “had some balls.” But this time I’m sorry to say it’s just in reference to meatballs, not me being a big-mouthed bitch. Maybe next time. A while back my friend Chichi from Bakeasaurus (Chichi is not her real name, it’s just what I call her… and yes, I did her blog logo) posted an evil picture on twitter. Evil. It was a picture of a homemade turkey meatball hero she made, all draped in cheesy deliciousness. Now, I don’t like turkey meatballs or turkey sausage, personally. I just don’t. So I decided since she gave me a hankering (yes, I said a hankering, problem?) that I’d make my own meatball hero’s using good ol’ ground beef meatballs.

I think I’ve said before that I don’t eat red meat much anymore, probably once every few months in the winter although in the summer it’s more often because of barbecues, but I still try and keep it no more than once or twice a month tops. Not only is it high in fat and cholesterol, but I try to go meatless as much as possible in general because of the environmental impact I’ve learned about from Meatless Monday. I’ve mainly just lost my taste for it altogether, I no longer crave steaks or burgers all the time. I do occasionally get a craving, and when I do I indulge it, because I believe when you crave something that you don’t eat often or ever, it’s your body’s way of telling you you need it (or something in it at any rate). So I can blame Chichi all I want for planting the seed, but in reality I was probably in need of some iron or something.

I had never ever made meatballs before, so I was a bit unsure of how this would come out. But it turns out, like anything else I’ve been intimidated to try, meatballs are stupid easy and cook really quick. So really, try them. They’re awesome. THEY’RE NOT JUST MEATBALLS… THEY’RE AMAZEBALLS! Since I’ve made these I’ve been wanting them almost constantly. Next time, I’m going to make chicken cutlet hero’s using  homemade fried chicken cutlets. I think the best part is that they don’t get soggy! You can load ’em up with meatballs and sauce and cheese, and they won’t get mushy and fall apart. Using ciabatta is definitely a better bet than a regular ol’ sub roll (more about that at the bottom of the post).



  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup (maybe more) fine dry Italian-flavored bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino romano
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch dried basil
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • Pinch dried parsley flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the hero’s themselves:

  • Ingredients for the homemade sauce, or 1 jar of sauce
  • fresh ciabatta rolls
  • fresh mozzarella cheese


  1. For the meatballs: Mix meat, bread crumbs, cheeses, eggs, oregano, parsley, basil and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Gently shape mixture into 1 & ¾” meatballs, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. Get together the materials for your sauce.
  2. In a skillet, pour about ½ cup olive oil. On medium heat, cook the meatballs until they’re browned on all sides.
  3. Make the sauce according to the recipe, and when it’s done simmering, combine the meatballs into the sauce pot. Cook for 45 minutes on low, as the sauce recipe says.  Or heat up the jar sauce and add the meatballs, then cook them for about 20 minutes. While they’re cooking, slice your rolls and mozzarella cheese so it’s all ready when you need it. Some of the meatballs might break off a bit into the sauce- that’s fine.
  4. Turn on your broiler and open your ciabatta rolls. Put about three to four meatballs and some sauce on each, then top with a few slices of mozzarella cheese. when your broiler is ready, put the hero in and let the cheese melt. Take it out, let it sit for a minute, slice in half if you like, then serve.

The most beautiful-est hero ever.

Since you’ll only need 3-4 meatballs per hero, you’ll have a bunch left over. My advice is to to this: cook only the amount you need according to this recipe. For the rest, cook them thoroughly in the skillet (making sure there’s no pink inside). Let them drain and cool on a paper towel covered plate, then put them in a tupperware and freeze them for another day.

If you like a thicker sauce, use crushed tomatoes instead of whole. That’s what I did this time. The sauce can also be doctored up to your liking: add garlic, meat, etc. If you don’t want to make your own sauce, jar sauce is okay too. Just make sure the meatballs are very browned before putting them in the sauce, and then cook them in the sauce for about 15-20 minutes. Also, as far as the meatballs go, you can make meatballs with any meat you like. If you wanna use half pork, half beef, go for it. You wanna throw some lamb in? Fine. Turkey meatballs? Fantastic. Even veggie meatballs or pretend meatballs using mushrooms? That’s fine too. Just be sure to alter your cooking time accordingly. Turkey, chicken & veg-based foods cook faster than beef and you don’t want your meatballs to be tough or rubbery. You can also season them however you like. If you like onion in them, put in some chopped onion. Do whatever you like. If you’re gonna eat it, you should like it. So make it how you want it!

Around here some people like their hero’s on garlic rolls, so an easy way to do that is to spread a little olive oil on the roll, then spread some minced garlic on it, and pop it under the broiler just long enough for it to get warm. Then take it out and make your hero and put it back under for the cheese to melt. Mmm. Garlic-y, tomato-y, cheesy goodness. And I seriously stress the importance of ciabatta rolls here. They’re hard on the outside with a really nice moist interior and will resist the soggy-ness that most hero’s end up being. If you must use regular sub rolls, toast them a bit before using them for this, so they’re a bit harder. But seriously, go get some ciabatta. You’ll thank me for it.

On a totally unrelated note, since this post is about as far from vegan as one can get… check out my girl Jeanine’s blog, Vegan Nourishment, which she recently got up and running. A really talented artist designed her logo too *ahem* So if you’re vegan or vegetarian or even gluten-free, definitely bookmark her blog because she’s going to be posting recipes that are all three. Wow that rhymed.

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