The first time I made this dish, we threw our Superbowl party (still bummed that the Cardinals didn't win). To be honest, although I love Rachael's upbeat personality and her food looks delic on TV, I had previously tried some of her recipes and was disappointed. Since I watch Food Network non-stop, I frequently come across her shows and drool over her "30-minute meals", so I decided to give her another chance... and boy, am I glad I did! These meatballs and sauce were oh.so.good. I made this the 2nd time this morning. Our friend Naomi had just had her baby and she has had no time to cook. So I woke up early this morning and whipped this up quickly- it really is that simple, and almost all the ingredients are ones you have on hand. Since this recipe make so much sauce, I would double the meatball ingredients next time. Make sure to use a CRUSTY sub bread, as I used deli-style rolls (bread consistency), and even though I toasted the bread, the bread became soggy due to the sauce. The sauce was so simple and so tasty- no more jarred spaghetti sauce for me. It was effortless to make, quick to cook, and it (almost) only took me 30 minutes (lol).
1-1/2 pounds ground chicken or ground turkey
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 large egg
1/2 cup Kraft Shredded Parmesan, Romano, & Asiago
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
Handful of chopped parsley leaves (1 Tbsp dried parsley)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling
Parmesan Meatball sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
2 large cloves garlic, cracked from skin and split (used minced garlic)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
Salt & Pepper
8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded or 1 Tbsp dried basil
4 (6 to 8-inch) crusty sub rolls (essential they are crusty and hearty to withstand the meatball sauce)
1-1/2 cups shredded provolone (good, but not necessary)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. (I lined my pan with foil and sprayed some Pam.)
2. Place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning.
3. Add egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, and a serious drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl.
4. Mix the meat (don't overmix- just enough to incorporate the dry ingredients into the meat) and form 12 large meatballs.
5. Squish the balls on the baking pan to flatten them a bit like mini oval meatloaves. Be careful not to form the balls wider than your bread. The flattened balls will stay put on your sub, no roll-aways!
6. Bake the meatballs 15 minutes until golden and firm. Switch the broiler on.
7. While the meatballs bake, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and garlic, and cook 5 minutes then remove the cloves (I minced my garlic and left it in for flavor).
8. Add crushed red pepper flakes then tomatoes, and stir in the chicken stock.
9. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and stir in the basil. (The sauce will splatter, so have a splatter screen ready if you have one.) Reserve extra sauce for dipping on dinner table.
10. Remove the meat from oven and loosen with a thin spatula. Add meatballs to sauce.
11. Cut sub rolls making the bottom a little deeper than the top. Hollow out a little bread and lightly toast the sub rolls under broiler.
12. Fill the bottoms of the breads with flattened balls and sauce.
13. Combine the provolone and remaining Parmesan. Cover the subs with cheese and return to broiler to melt the cheese until golden.
Yield: 12 meatballs, 4 sub rolls (3 meatballs/sub)
** Note: I would double the meatball recipe, keep the same recipe for the sauce
Source: Adapted from Rachael Ray