The Rodfather is one seriously good meatball sandwich! So good, in fact, that it's Chef Rodney Bowers' signature sandwich at his shop. Serve with his tasty chopped salad for a truly authentic experience.
1 lb ground beef 1/2 lb ground veal 1/2 lb ground pork 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 whole egg, plus one yolk 1/4 cup chopped parsley to taste salt and ground black pepper 1 cup day old Italian bread, torn into small pieces 3/4 cup whole milk
Simple Marinara Sauce
3 tbsp olive oil 2 cloves garlic, smashed 1/2 medium cooking onion, finely diced 8 cups tomato puree or crushed tomatoes 6-8 fresh basil leaves to taste salt
6 cups packed fresh basil leaves , well washed and dried 3-4 cloves garlic 1/2 cups toasted walnuts 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup olive oil, plus more if needed to taste salt
4 ciabatta buns as needed freshly grated Parmesan
For the Meatballs
Preheat oven to 350F.
Pour milk over breadcrumbs and let sit a minute. Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Squeeze breadcrumbs to remove excess milk and add to mixture. Roll mixture into balls and place on parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes (depending on size) until cooked through.
For the Simple Marinara Sauce
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sweat lightly until just barely coloured, about 3 -4 minutes. Add tomato puree and basil leave and simmer on low heat, partially covered and stirring occasionally until reduced slightly, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
For the Pesto
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
Split ciabatta buns in half and toast, cut side down, in a large skillet with a touch of olive oil.
Toss cooked meatballs in a small amount of marinara sauce. Place along bottom half of ciabatta. Spoon more marinara sauce over. Drizzle over pesto, and garnish with freshly grated pamesan cheese. Top with other half of ciabatta, and enjoy! (Napkins are mandatory).