For the sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaves
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
For the meatballs
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground veal
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 small onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 large egg
For the sandwiches
4-6 sandwich rolls
1 1/4 cups shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Small handful of arugula, optional for garnish
- Make the sauce: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spices and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the bay leaf, wine, and sugar, and cook for 3-4 minutes until the wine is almost evaporated.
- Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl combine, the ground meat, minced onion and garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh oregano, cheese, breadcrumbs, and eggs. Mix well with your hands to incorporate the seasonings into the ground meat. Once combined, take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into your hands and form a small ball that’s a little bigger than a quarter in diameter. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Repeat with remaining meat until all of it’s formed into balls.
- Bake the meatballs for 12 minutes until they are juicy and cooked all the way through. Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce.
- To assemble the sandwiches: preheat the broiler. Slice the sandwich rolls in half lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet. Cover each roll bottom with shredded fontina or mozzarella. Cover each roll top with parmesan cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy 2-3 minutes. Remove and top the bottoms with 4-6 meatballs each. Sprinkle with arugula (if using) and cover with the roll top. Enjoy immediately!