It starts with a mini baguette that’s toasted, split in half and stuffed with meatballs coated generously with tomato sauce. A thick slice of mozzarella is arranged on top of each meatball before the whole package goes into the oven just long enough to melt the cheese and heat the meatballs through. Tiny basil leaves are dropped in before the meatball sandwich is served.
When I made meatballs in tomato sauce for our spaghetti, I doubled the recipe so I could reserve half of the meatballs and sauce to make sandwiches a day later.
The meatballs soaked in the sauce overnight in the fridge absorbing the flavors. I took them out of the fridge to bring them to room temperature an hour before I intended to make the sandwiches. The idea was to get plenty of sauce into the sandwich but not to the point that eating the sandwich would be an ultra messy affair.
What was the effect of bringing out the meatballs without reheating them in the sauce?
The sauce did not thin out (it would have had I reheated the meatballs on the stove) while stuffing the bread. Even when the meatballs were lifted, the sauce clung to them as though each vehemently refused to let go of the other.
Inside the oven, the meatballs got heated all the way through as the cheese melted and as the sauce thinned out to drip directly into the bread and soaking the soft center.
To make the sandwich making and toasting even less messy, after topping each meatball with a thick slice of mozzarella, I arranged the baguettes in a baking tray cut side up. It was a breeze to put them in the baking tray and it was a breeze moving them to individual plates with a kitchen tong. No sauce dripping all over. Not even while biting into the sandwich.
- 3 mini baguettes
- 9 meatballs in tomato sauce at room temperature (get the recipe)
- 100 grams mozzarella cut into two-inch squares thicker than a quarter inch
- basil leaves to garnish
- extra tomato sauce for dipping
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Toast the baguettes just until crisp outside, about three to four minutes.
- Split the baguettes lengthwise without going all the way through.
- Stuff three meatballs coated in tomato sauce into each baguette.
- Top each meatball with a slice of mozzarella.
- Arrange the stuffed baguettes in a baking tray cut side up.
- Toast in the oven for five to six minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Sprinkle the meatball sandwiches with basil leaves before serving.