Meatball sandwich with tomato sauce and Fontina


  • Serves 8 people

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 6-8 long white crusty rolls, halved lengthways
  • 400 gm Fontina, thinly sliced
  • To serve: potato crisps
  • Meatballs
  • 200 gm soft white bread, crust removed, quartered
  • 500 gm minced beef
  • 1 cup (firmly packed) mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeds removed, finely diced
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Tomato sauce
  • 500 gm (about 7) vine-ripened tomatoes, scored
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • ½ cinnamon quill
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) tomato passata
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Pinch of caster sugar
01   For meatballs, soak bread in 200ml cold water until just soft (30 seconds), squeeze out excess water, then coarsely tear into a large bowl. Add minced beef, mint, tomato, onion, garlic and egg, season to taste and mix well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for flavours to develop (4 hours-overnight). Roll mixture into walnut-sized balls, place on trays lined with baking paper and refrigerate until required.
02   Meanwhile, for tomato sauce, blanch tomatoes until skins split (30 seconds), refresh in cold water, peel (discard skin), coarsely chop and set aside. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and garlic, sauté until tender (5-7 minutes). Add bay leaf, cinnamon, basil and reserved tomato, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced (15-20 minutes). Add tomato passata, butter and sugar, season to taste and simmer for flavours to develop (5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and keep warm.
03   Preheat a grill to medium-high. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add half the meatballs and turn occasionally until cooked through (4-6 minutes). Wipe pan clean and repeat with remaining meatballs and oil. Keep warm.
04   Place bases of rolls on an oven tray, divide meatballs among rolls, top with tomato sauce (there may be a little left over) and Fontina, grill until cheese melts (2-3 minutes) and sandwich with tops. Serve meatball sandwiches hot with potato crisps.
This recipe is from the October 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.







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