The Spaghetti Sub
So let me tell you about this beast of a sandwich. You might be thinking to yourself, What sort of crazy person makes a spaghetti sub?? Honestly, I had never even heard of such a thing, though apparently they do exist and even have quite a little following at the restaurants that offer them. I think the idea actually came to us one night over a spaghetti dinner. We were sitting there happily slurping our spaghetti and wiping our plates with crusty bread when the husband had a flash of genius. Why not stuff a loaf of garlic bread with the spaghetti? The conversation then quickly turned to a better garlic bread, great sauce, and–the crowning glory–bubbly mozzarella cheese.
So here it is.
First, there’s the bread. Now there’s nothing very special about the bread itself. Just pick up your favorite French or Italian loaf from the grocery store…but not one of those store-made garlic breads. Anything but that. Nope, just a plain loaf. Once cut open, you’ll want to scoop out just a little of the bread (this makes it a little easier to eat!) and then smear it with your own concoction of butter, olive oil, fresh oregano and basil, mashed garlic, and a bit of salt and pepper. This is then broiled to crispy deliciousness.
Second comes the spaghetti. Now, in hindsight, the husband and I both strongly feel that, while this sandwich is incredibly good, a layer of halved meatballs would really be something to write home about. So you can bet that next time I make this tasty little number, there will be some meatballs. But not this time. Now, when getting everything together for this, I cooked up about half a box (or 8 ounces) of dried spaghetti…and had a ton left over! Taking into consideration that I only made a half-loaf sized sub and that I used about half a cup of cooked spaghetti per portion, I think 6-8 ounces dried spaghetti would be plenty for the whole sub.
The spaghetti is both tossed and topped with homemade meat sauce. The recipe is pretty basic, which you’ll see below. A combo of beef and Italian sausage gives it great flavor and I love that it doesn’t have all the added junk you’ll find in jarred pasta sauces.
Finally, the whole lot is topped with thin slices of mozzarella and then popped under the broiler until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and spotty brown in places.
I just can’t express how delicious this sub was. Though I didn’t initially intend to blog this one, it was just so good. Enjoy!
The Spaghetti Sub
For the meat sauce:
½ pound ground beef (85% lean)
¼ pound Italian sausage (or 1 link)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup milk, whole or 2%
1/3 cup white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 – ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the bread:
1 Italian or French loaf
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, mashed through a garlic press
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz dried spaghetti, such as Barilla Plus
3 ounces thin slices part-skim mozzarella
First you need to get your meat sauce going. In a large skillet, begin to brown your beef and sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add the garlic to the skillet as well. After a few minutes, add the milk. Continue to cook until the milk evaporates and you begin to hear the meat sizzle again. At this point, go ahead and drain or spoon out any fat that has cooked out of your meat. Now add the white wine, herbs, red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer your sauce for at least an hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once dinner time is around the corner, get a pot of salted water boiling and cook your spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain and then toss with about half of your sauce. Set aside.
For the bread, begin by making a compound butter by mashing together the butter, olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Prep your loaf by slicing it in half and scooping out some of the inside bread (doing so will make this monstrous sandwich easier to bite into). Then spread your compound butter on the inside of each half. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.
Turn on your oven’s broiler (I set mine to 400 degrees). Pop the loaf under the broiler until perfectly toasted. I highly recommend you watch that loaf like a hawk…I’m pretty sure we’ve all burned our buns at some point, am I right? My loaf took roughly 5 minutes or so.
Once the loaf is done, pull it out of the oven and get to layering your spaghetti sub! If you want to do meatballs, start with those. Cut them in half and arrange on the bottom half of the loaf. Next comes the sauced spaghetti. Now spoon over the remaining meat sauce and top it all with thin slices of mozzarella. Set the top half of the loaf aside and then pop the layered bottom half back under the broiler. Broil until the cheese is bubbling away and spotty brown in places. Remove from the oven, top with the top half of your loaf, slice, and serve!
Nutrition information per serving (1/6 of recipe)*: 560 calories, 20 g total fat, 8.5 g saturated fat, 68 g total carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 29 g protein
* This calculation takes into consideration draining the fat that cooks out of the meat. A study published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the Journal of the American Dietetic Association) showed that doing this reduces the grams of fat by approximately 31-35%. To avoid an over-estimation of fat removed, I subtracted 30% of the fat grams from the beef and sausage. And, where fat provides 9 calories per gram, I accordingly subtracted the calories from these fat grams.