When I was a kid, on Halloween my mom would serve meatball sub sandwiches. I don't remember exactly, but I think the tradition started because the kitchen was under construction and rather than cooking another meal on the hot plate, she picked up meatball subs from Shakeys. Each year, I think about that tradition, and wish that I was carrying it on.
But we spend Halloween away from home, and I am not so bold as to suggest to our host, what to serve for halloween dinner.
At least not yet. I'm still young.
Rewind to this past Halloween. I was in half-costume and hungry. I ran to a local sandwich shop to pick up a couple of italian subs and what do I see? A meatball sub and it looked so delicious. I thought, next time, that is what I am getting.
And a couple of days later I did.
And it was terrible.
Not like anything I remember or want to eat again. I am not even sure the balls were meat.
And right then I decided meatball subs were going in the rotation...and soon.
So, tonight, Tuesday night, I made them, with homemade bread, and they were pretty darn good.
Meatball subs are easy. Especially if you do a bit of planning and use store bought rolls (which I suggest doing unless you are obsessed like me).
I made Sunday Sauce, on Monday and I loaded it with meatballs in preparation for tonight's dinner.
1/2 large onion--finely chopped
1 medium carrot--finely chopped
1 celery stalk--finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic--finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs beef short ribs-bone in
1 lb country style pork ribs--boneless
3 links italian sausage cut in half
as many meatballs as you please
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
1 heaping tsp dried oregano
2-14oz cans crushed tomatoes
2-14 oz cans tomato puree
1 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in large pot. Toss in onion, carrot, and celery. Do not let them brown, but cook until they begin to soften. Add garlic. Add meat in batches to brown (not the meatballs). Pour in wine and let it sizzle a bit and scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Dump in the tomato puree and crushed tomatoes. Add herbs. Put burner on low, cover and let simmer.
Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs.
I usually add raisins and pignoli nuts to my meatballs, but since I knew I was using them for the sandwiches, I omitted this step.
grated parmesan cheese
bread crumbs (if you use store bought go for the seasoned one)
I mix the beef and pork together half and half. Use 1 egg per pound of meat. Put the meat in the bowl and break the eggs on top. Shake the breadcrumbs over the top of the meat so it covers the expanse of the meat, but only a dusting. Do the same with the parmesan, but a bit more than a dusting..but don't dump. Pour enough milk on top so that it can moisten the bread crumbs, but you don't want mush. I would say about 1/4 cup per pound of meat. Add salt and pepper...add a bit and then fry up just a smidge to test the seasoning. Bottom line, you can always add salt to your meatballs when you are eating them...it's not like you are cooking in a restaurant and people are judging you...or people who are paying that are judging you.
Have a gentle hand and mix all together. Form into balls--the size is your choice.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Put a bit of olive oil on the bottom and fry the meatballs until the outside is browned evenly. The meat will not be fully cooked, which is the point. As you take the meatballs out of the frying pan, place them in the sauce to finish cooking. Both the sauce and the meatballs benefit from this process...trust me.
Continue cooking the sauce under simmer until all the meat is cooked well. The rib meat should be falling off the bone and the meatballs should be firm.
When you make the sandwiches--toast the bread and then be generous with the meatballs and sauce. Top with provolone cheese and pop in the oven or broiler to make the cheese nice and melty.
On Sunday I made a tart and I had a bit of the custard in the fridge. I had been promising the hubster that I would make ice cream for him, so I had to make good. My word is my bond you know.
Ice Cream in a Pinch
I took about 1 cup of custard and added to it 1 cup of milk chocolate chips melted in about 1/4 cup of cream making it a bit of a ganache. I threw in a shot of very strong espresso and whisked it all up. The mixture was cool, so I didn't have to chill it in the fridge and I dumped it right into the ice cream machine. 30 minutes later I had a mildly chocolate, minimally coffee flavored, very smooth ice cream. As I packed it into the tub for future eating, I swirled in nutella...for nutella ripple ice cream.
While the ice cream was freezing, I made a quick hazelnut brittle
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs honey
Put sugar in a saucepan. Add enough water so the sugar has the consistency of wet sand. Add honey and put over low heat. Let cook away until the sugar and honey is melted and the mixture starts to turn color. Once you see the color beginning to amber, swirl the pan....to even out the color. I like mine a soft amber, so a few minutes into coloration, I throw in the hazelnuts and swirl a couple of times. Don't be vigorous...just do it a bit to move the contents around. Pour the hot sugar on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. Let cool. Be very careful..hot sugar is like molten lava...it will burn, and burn bad. Let the brittle cool and then break into pieces