Sandwich #56–“Not That Big a Pot” Meatball Sandwiches

By 300 Sandwiches

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56meatballsubSometimes, I can follow instructions too literally. For example, I have a soft voice, one which has the same timbre as ambient noise. This means when I’m in a crowded restaurant or loud office, it’s hard for others to hear me because the tone of my voice isn’t high pitched like a little girl or deep and gravelly like a chain smoker. Even if we’re sitting in our own quiet home, E asks me “what did you say,” over and over, sometimes after pretending to have heard me in the first place. In response—and I know this is horrible—I often scream to repeat myself.

Yes, it’s bratty, but it’s frustrating when people can’t hear me! When cab drivers turn around and ask me where are you going three times, screaming “FORTY NINTH AND SIXTH AVENUE!” not only communicates directions, but they often drive juuuuust a bit faster (probably because they’re annoyed after I yell). With E, I’ve taken it to another level. Whenever it’s clear he didn’t hear me in the first place, often because he just wasn’t paying attention, I repeat myself by singing–like, Aretha Franklin in church style singing– whatever I said.

Me: Honey can you take out the trash?
Him:(pause for 10 seconds, confused look): Say that again?

This gets his attention. “Listen, all you have to do is just turn up the volume just a bit! You don’t have to blow the speakers!” he says. As in, don’t take his instructions so literally.

I made meatballs for dinner the other night. I’d never made them before, so I sought out a recipe from one of the best Italian restaurants in New York, Frankies Spuntino. There was one ingredient I omitted: raisins. That’s right, the brown, sweet, terd-like fruits sit on BOTH E and I’s forbidden foods list.

After I baked the balls, I went to simmer the marinara sauce. The recipe called for a large pot, but after looking through our cupboards for something big enough to hold 15 meatballs and the sauce, the only thing I could find was a stock pot that we used for the turkey soup. I cracked open the marinara sauce, and quickly discovered that pot was too large, as my jar of tomato sauce barely covered the bottom. Cue the cartoonish fail music: “Waa-waa-waa-waaaaaaah!”

E chose this exact moment to come into the kitchen. “Seriously?! This makes no sense, using that huge pot to simmer sauce!” he laughed. “There you go, following the instructions a bit too literally again. Like when I tell you to speak up, and you end up yelling at me as opposed to just speaking a little louder. ‘You saw ‘large pot’ on the recipe, and you brought out a large pot! AHAHAHAHAH! Neeener neerr ne-er! That’s hilarious.”

“Alright!” I said, loud enough for him to hear me without the cutesy singing. Another reason to not take instructions so literally: because boyfriends are the first ones to call you out when you make a mistake.

I found a large skillet, transferred the sauce into the pan, and added enough meatballs to make two sandwiches (I had a few left over for tomorrow’s lunch), which turned out amazing despite my temporary brainlessness.

4 Italian hoagie loaves
2 slices plain white bread, torn into large pieces
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino romano, plus more for serving
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
3-4 pinches ground white pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dried plain breadcrumbs
1 jar (about 3 cups) tomato sauce

*this recipe also calls for 1/4 cup raisins, but they’re not allowed in our house. Sorry.

Heat the oven to 325°F. Place the bread in a large bowl, cover with water, and let soak about a minute. Pour off the remaining water, wring out the bread, and tear it into tiny pieces. Place in a large bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients except the breadcrumbs and tomato sauce and mix to combine. Add the breadcrumbs a large pinch at a time until the mixture is moist wet, not sloppy wet (You probably won’t need all of the breadcrumbs).
Roll a small mound of the meat mixture between your hands until it’s a nice golf ball size shape (about 2 inches in diameter) and place the meatball on a baking sheet; repeat until you have 15 meatballs, spacing them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake until firm and just cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. (At this point, you can cool the meatballs and store them in the refrigerator for as long as a couple of days or freeze them for longer. You can always heat them up and add sauce later.)
Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a large pot or skillet over low heat until simmering. Add the meatballs and increase the heat to medium until the sauce returns to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meatballs soak up some of the sauce, at least 30 minutes.

Toast hoagie loaves. Spread the loaves open but try to keep them attached on one side. Place about three meatballs inside the bread loaf, and spoon marinara on top. Top each portion with more grated pecorino and a pinch of parsley. Makes four sandwiches.

Recipe from this goodness.

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