Meatball-Sausage Subs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 8 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 7 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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2 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces), plus 1 small piece parmesan rind

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup whole milk

1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck

2 large eggs

1 1/2 pounds sweet and/or hot Italian sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 loaves Italian bread, cut into 3-inch pieces and split open

Shredded mozzarella cheese, for topping


  1. Combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves and parmesan rind in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 1 cup water, 1/4 cup parsley, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  2. Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a medium bowl; soak 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the beef, eggs, 1 cup parmesan, the remaining 1/4 cup parsley and 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the breadcrumb-milk mixture and mix with your hands until combined. With damp hands, shape into 24 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches each; transfer to the slow cooker.
  3. Add the sausage pieces to the slow cooker, then cover and cook on low, 7 hours. Remove the bay leaves and parmesan rind and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on the bread and top with mozzarella.