The Godfather Meatball Sub – the ultimate meatball sub with giant meatballs, smothered in sauce and cheese, in a toasted ciabatta bun with pesto sauce. A meatball sub worthy of The Godfather!
Well ok, I never said this was a healthy blog, though if you ask me this sub isn’t so bad for you, because let’s face it, we’re talking meatballs, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese on a toasted ciabatta bun that’s smeared with homemade pesto. And if you ask me, at 890 calories for one of these babies, it’s well worth it. Although I served these for lunch, this would make a fabulous dinner that’s worthy of the Godfather. I bet if the Godfather saw this sub he’d say “Leave the gun, take the meatball sub!”
I mean look at these giant meatballs, and this is coming from someone who loves making small meatballs, but I figured that a meatball sub that had to be worthy of the Godfather, had to have some big balls. The meatballs themselves are pretty simple to make, we’re talking ground pork and ground beef with some spices and I threw in some Sriracha sauce for some heat. But then I just wasn’t happy with them, something was missing. That something was mozzarella cheese, so I stuffed a piece of cheese in each meatballs. Yeah, baby, now we’re talking.
I baked these meatballs, but not like I normally bake them. I put them in a casserole dish, then I poured about a cup of chicken broth on them, to keep them nice and moist, then baked them at 500 degrees for 20 minutes. Let me just tell you that these meatballs are to die for! But this story doesn’t end here. First you need to make some pesto sauce, it’s just a basic pesto sauce with walnuts, basil, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Yes you can use store-bought pesto sauce, but I find it just as easy to put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse a few times until you have a nice homemade pesto.
Then you need to take some nice ciabatta buns, cut them in half, toast them, then spread some of that yummy pesto over them. Then you start layering. Some marinara sauce, a bit of cheese, 3 meatballs, more sauce, more cheese then your top bun. If you wanted to make these ahead, assemble them just like I said, then store them in the fridge in an airtight container, then before serving them, pop them in the oven at 400 F degrees for about 5 minutes, so the cheese will melt all over them and the inside of the meatballs warms up. Yeah, these meatball subs are worth it. See this isn’t that difficult to make, all that’s left to do is take a nice bite and enjoy! There’s just something so delicious about pesto with marinara sauce together, trust me, you’ll just have to try these.
If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #jocooks on Instagram so we can see it. I always love to see what you guys come up with!
If you love this sandwich, try these recipes!
- Knockout Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Leftover Turkey with Pistachio Pesto and Arugula Sandwich
- Loaded Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Guacamole
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The Godfather Meatball Sub
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 12 leaves basil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup store bought marinara sauce
- mozzarella cheese
- 6 ciabatta buns
- Preheat oven to 500 F degrees.
- Add all the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix well, use your hands. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls (or as large as you wish) sticking a mozzarella cube in each meatball. You should get around 18 meatballs.
- Place the meatballs in a casserole dish, then pour the cup of chicken broth over them. This will keep them from going dry and keep them moist. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the pesto. Add all the pesto ingredients (minus the olive oil) to a blender, and pulse for about 10 seconds, with the motor running pour in the olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified. You will not be using all this pesto, see notes for how to store leftovers.
- Cut the ciabatta buns in half crosswise then toast them only on the inside, not the crust side, on a grill or under the broiler until golden.
- To assemble the subs, spread some of the pesto on each bottom part of the bun, then spoon about 3 tablespoons of marinara sauce, sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese. Add 3 meatballs, 3 more tablespoons of marinara sauce, then more mozzarella cheese. Spread some more pesto over each top part of the ciabatta bun, before placing on top of the subs. You can place these in the oven for about 3 to 5 minutes at 400 F degrees until the sauce warms up and cheese melts.
- Serve immediately.