This is another recipe from Everyday with RR. We really liked how it turned out, though it dawned on me when we were eating that I could “correct” the issue of messy meatball sandwiches by simply making them in patty form next time around. Oh, and if your local grocery store is out of pancetta (Grrr!) bacon works too.
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Five 6-inch hoagie rolls
- 3 onions, halved and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 6 ounces sliced pancetta, chopped
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- One 15-ounce can tomato puree
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
- In a large nonstick skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve the skillet. Using a food processor, pulse 1 hoagie roll into crumbs; add 3/4 cup crumbs to the bowl.
- Using the food processor, finely chop 1 cup onion slices and the garlic. In the reserved skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic-onion mixture and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes; add to the bowl, wiping out the skillet. Using the food processor, finely chop 1/4 cup basil; add the pancetta and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the bowl along with the turkey, egg, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix together.
- Shape the meat mixture into 16 meatballs. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining onions and cook until browned, about 7 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the meatballs and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover with foil and cook until the meatballs are firm, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Preheat the broiler. Partially split the remaining 4 hoagie rolls; arrange cut side up on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Broil until toasted. Top each roll with 4 meatballs. Chop the remaining 1/2 cup basil and stir into the tomato sauce; spoon over the meatballs. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and broil until the cheese is melted.