How to Make Italian Meatball Subs

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When time is short and appetites are huge, there's no better hero in the kitchen than a trusty slow cooker. With less than 30 minutes of hands-on time, split between the morning and evening, these Italian meatball subs will satisfy everyone's need for a hearty and filling dinner. The meatballs do all their cooking in the slow cooker (no browning step required!) and the super simple tomato sauce takes all of two minutes to pull together. Just before dinner, spoon the meatballs into buns, top them with fresh mozzarella and pop them under the broiler to get the cheese nice and melted. Serve the subs up with plenty of napkins and watch them disappear.

(Image: April Anderson)

Things You'll Need

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 top sliced buns
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • Extra chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Step 1: Make the Meatballs

Combine the eggs, bread crumbs, cheese, seasonings and milk in a large bowl. Add the beef and sausage and, using your hands, mix it all together until just combined.

(Image: April Anderson)

Scoop out approximately 2 tablespoons (about 1 ounce) of the meat mixture and roll it between your hands. Repeat until all the meatballs are formed. Place the meatballs in the slow cooker.

(Image: April Anderson)

Step 2: Make the Sauce

In a separate bowl, mix the tomato puree, crushed tomatoes and fresh herbs until combined. Pour the sauce over the top of the meatballs in the slow cooker, place the lid on top and cook on either "high" for 4 to 5 hours or on "low" for 8 to 10 hours.

(Image: April Anderson)

About halfway through the cooking process, gently stir the meatballs in the sauce. Then, replace the lid and continue cooking.

(Image: April Anderson)

Step 3: Assemble and Toast the Subs

Turn the oven to broil. Place the buns on a baking sheet and toast them under the broiler for a couple of minutes, or until they are lightly toasted. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place four meatballs in each bun, followed by a few slices of fresh mozzarella. Place the subs back under the broiler, toasting them just until the cheese is bubbly and melted. Garnish the subs with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and serve.

(Image: April Anderson)

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