Spicy Meatball Hoagies with Broccoli Rabe

  • Prep Time:
  • 10 mins
  • Cook Time:
  • 20 mins
  • Total Time:
  • 0 hour(s)
  • 30 mins

Say hello to your weeknight hero...hero sandwich, that is. This 5-ingredient meatball sandwich gets a helping hand from two main ingredients: hot Italian sausage and jarred preserved broccoli rabe. The trick to quick, satisfying cooking with 5 ingredients or less? Using every ingredient to its fullest. Case in point, Masseria Mirogallo's Broccoli Rabe in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (also known as cime di rapa, or Italian turnip greens). The broccoli rabe itself becomes a delicately bitter condiment nestled next to rich, juicy sausage meatballs, while the olive oil it's packed in becomes a bright, lively sauce combined with the zest and juice of a lemon. 

Note: this recipe is the first in our 5-ingredient summer wonders series. These only require five ingredients or fewer—with the exception of EVOO, salt and pepper—and less than an hour of cooking time. Stay tuned all season long for more simple, satisfying from our test kitchen!

Recipe, food styling and photography by Asha Loupy

Serves 4



Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the hoagie rolls, slice side up, on one of the baking sheets. Reserve the other baking sheet for roasting the meatballs.

To make the meatballs, divide each sausage into three equal pieces, about two ounces each. Roll one piece into a 1 1/2-inch ball and place it on the remaining reserved parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sausage pieces, spacing them about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 11-13 minutes.

While the meatballs are roasting, make the lemon olive oil sauce. Drain the olive oil from the jar of broccoli rabe into a one-cup measuring cup, gently pressing the broccoli rabe in the jar to drain as much olive oil as possible (you should have about 1/4 cup of olive oil). Reserve the broccoli rabe itself for later use. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice. Drizzle the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, while whisking continuously, until the sauce is emulsified. Season with salt, to taste. Divide the finished sauce into two small bowls and set aside.

About three minutes before the meatballs are fully cooked, increase the heat to 500°F. Place the hoagie rolls in the oven, and bake until lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes. 

To assemble the sandwiches, remove the cooked meatballs and the toasted hoagie rolls from the oven. Gently open the roll and tuck three meatballs inside along with a quarter of the reserved broccoli rabe. Drizzle a tablespoon of the reserved lemon olive oil sauce over the meatballs and the broccoli rabe and then top with a couple slices of mozzarella in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Return the assembled sandwiches to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5-6 minutes. 

To serve, place the finished sandwiches on a platter and drizzle with the remaining half of the lemon olive oil sauce. Enjoy hot or warm.

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