I had a plan – shortcuts all the way. I was going to the grocery store after work, going to grab a few things for a dessert I want to try and, while I was there, I was going to grab a jar of pasta sauce and a loaf of French bread or a couple of those skinny, long baguettes. I had meatballs in the freezer at home, Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese if the mood struck and with the shortcuts, dinner would be done before 9 pm.
Annnnddddd, then when I got home and got out of the car, it came to me. The revelation. I grabbed the things I needed for the dessert, and for another dessert, but grabbed absolutely no pasta sauce or bread loaf. OHFERGOODNESSSAKE!
I had a fleeting thought of “I’ll make something else for supper” and then my head said “No, I want meatball subs”.
The really funny thing about this whole thing is 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have eaten a meatball sub for any amount of money. The thought of it made my stomach turn – for no reason. I liked subs, I liked meatballs, but together? I was having none of it. I have a funny feeling it was something to do with either subs at a convenience store being unappetizing or from a sub shop. Either way, no chance was I eating one, then one day, I think I saw a picture of one somewhere and it looked so good I just had to try it….and lo, it was good.
So, given that my head said I absolutely had to have meatball subs, I guess I was going about it the long way.
I looked up a recipe for homemade marinara….and didn’t have all of the ingredients they called for….so I winged it.
- 1 28oz can of tomatoes
- 5 tomatoes – I had them in the freezer, figured I would use them
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped rough
- 1 onion, chopped rough
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar – only if you need it, my tomato sauce was a little acidic
- 1 TB oregano
- 1 TB basil
Super simple, get a pan or pot and heat up the oil. Toss in the onions and give them a minute or two of stirring – get a little colour on them.
Add the can of tomatoes, the fresh/frozen tomatoes (if using), and the garlic and let it all simmer and get happy.
I don’t know how many people cooking pasta/marinara sauce that have said you need to squish and break up the tomatoes with your hands. While I have no actual objection to doing so, I used a wooden spoon and did all this with the intention of using a stick blender to smooth things out. Your kitchen, your rules, though.
Once the sauce has simmered 5 or 10 minutes, add in your spices and taste. If you want a rustic sauce, leave it as it is and cook out some of the liquid.
I cooked down the sauce by about a quarter then took the stick blender to it.
When it was as smooth as it was going to be and got the sauce all over me, the wall and the stove, I added in a whole lot of meatballs (frozen) and let them simmer happily while I made some sub buns.
Once the buns are baked, supper is nigh. Woohoo.
Ingredients for the buns – this is my go to because the rising happens in the oven for the most part:
- 2 TB instant yeast
- 2 TB sugar
- 1-1/4 cup of warm water or warm milk
- 1/3 cup olive oil or melted butter
- 1 tsp of salt – I often don’t bother adding this
- 3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups of flour
I have made this recipe so often, I don’t have to look at it any more
Proof the yeast in the sugar and water/milk. Add the olive oil, salt if using and 2 of the 3 cups of flour.
Mix well. Add in the other cup and a quarter of flour and see where you are at, sticky dough-wise. Knead a few times. You don’t want to add too much flour but you don’t want super wet dough – it’s quite frustrating to work with.
Once your dough is smooth, cut it into 8 reasonably equal pieces and shape them into buns or sub bun shapes. Put on a baking sheet and turn on your oven to 400F.
Let the oven heat up then put the buns in for 15 minutes. They should sound hollow when they’re done and you tap them. They may not brown up really dark unless you brush on some butter or egg white before baking.
Take them out when they’re done. Let them cool a few minutes then split one open, load on some meatballs and sauce and put some cheese on top and go have yourself a feast.