Italian Sloppy Joes

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 red bell pepper, diced 

1 medium onion, diced 

5 cloves garlic, minced 

One 6-ounce can tomato paste 

One 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes 

1 tablespoon sugar 

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

1 teaspoon dried basil 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

Garlic Toast, recipe follows, for serving

Garlic Toast:

8 slices French bread

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/4 teaspoon paprika 

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the beef. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it is well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then remove the beef and drain off the fat.
  2. To the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and cook the peppers and onions until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or 2. Add the tomatoes, sugar, oregano and basil and bring to a simmer. Return the beef to the pan and simmer until the mixture is nice and thick, about 10 minutes. If it gets too thick, thin it with a little water. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve: Spoon a nice portion of sauce over each of 4 slices of the Garlic Toast. Let the sauce cascade over the sides, then prop a second piece of Garlic Toast over to the side of each. Garnish with extra grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Garlic Toast:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the butter, Parmesan, oil, parsley, garlic powder, paprika and oregano until it forms a paste. Season with salt and pepper, then spread the mixture on the bread.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
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