Spaghetti Stuffed Meatball Sammies with Homemade Chunky Marinara

Don't you just love a meatball sammy?  Who doesn't?   Juicy meatballs full of warm spices, both dried and fresh herbs and small pieces of spaghetti, smothered in flavorful homemade chunky marinara and topped with parmigiano cheese atop a toasted garlic roll leaves you wanting more and more. Ok, it did with me, but you be the judge.  I wish I could take credit for this one, but Rachael Ray introduced this one a few years back and I have been wanting to try it ever since.  I was not disappointed!  Let's get going.

Ingredients List
8 San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, 6 seeded and quartered  (or one large can crushed tomatoes) and the other two chopped into chunks
1 ten ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, halved + 2 cloves garlic finely grated
1 large white onion, half quartered and half finely chopped + half a white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, separated
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
1/2 cup spaghetti broken into half to inch pieces
1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
4 large fresh basil leaves
quarter to half teaspoon red pepper flakes  (your preference)
extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (I use Cento)
1 or 1.5 pounds ground beef  (I used an 90/10 mix of lean ground beef)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Some of the ingredients of tonight's dish.

In a large bowl, toss the seeded tomatoes, onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the veggies out on a baking sheet and roast fifteen minutes at 400 degrees.  Place the veggies, once cooled about five minutes, into a food processor or blender and chop and puree the veggies.  

In a large saucepan or pot, add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onions and saute' until they begin to become translucent, then add the chopped tomatoes. Lightly season with salt and pepper and cook for about three minutes longer. Add the pureed veggies, the dry and/or fresh herbs and incorporate well.  Add the red wine vinegar and bring the marinara to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and stir well.  Allow to simmer on low for twenty or more minutes, if possible.  Now to the meatballs. 

In a large bowl, add the ground beef, the other half of the finely chopped onion, the finely grated garlic clove, one leaf fresh basil, finely chopped, and the half cup of broken spaghetti, the other part of the Italian seasoning and a good pinch of both salt and pepper.  Mix the meat thoroughly, folding the ingredients into the meat, trying to not overwork it.  Once incorporated, allow the meat to rest for about ten or so minutes, then form the meatballs into golf-ball sized rounds.  You could use a regular sized ice cream scoop to regulate this, if you wish.  Once formed, there are two ways to start cooking the meatballs.  You could bake them 400 for ten minutes, or, you could fry them in a skillet with evoo until the meatballs have caramelized on all sides; two sides, at least.  NOTE:  You do Not want to cook them all the way through.  They will finish cooking in the marinara sauce. I chose to fry them but I have baked meatballs before with similar, juicy results. 

Remove the meatballs and snuggle them into the marinara sauce and try to cover them with sauce.  Allow them to cook with the simmering sauce for ten to fifteen minutes more.  

Add evoo to the rolls you are going to use.  I chose sourdough rolls.  Love them!  I also sprinkled the rolls with a little garlic powder before toasting in the oven.  

 When you are ready to serve, tear up the rest of the basil leaves into small pieces.  Add cheese to both sides of the toasted roll and spoon some of the steaming, chunky, aromatic marinara over the cheese on both sides.  Scoop two meatballs out of the pot and place them on the bottom part of the roll and drizzle with marinara.  Top with finely grated parmigiano cheese, garnish with basil and serve.  

WARNING!!!  This is messy! You may want to use a knife and fork.  Orrr not!  
Enjoy!!!  Thanks for your time!


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