If you live in New York, you call it a meatball parm hero.  In other parts of the country, it’s a meatball sub, grinder, or hoagie.  I just call it delicious!  There is simply nothing better than Italian meatballs in sauce with melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese on crusty Italian bread.  Let’s make this classic!

Three meatball parm heroes in a sheet pan on cutting board.

 

Finding a good meatball hero in the New York metro area is quite easy.  Ditto for chicken parm, eggplant parm, and New York pizza.

One of our favorite places to get one is Little Vincent’s in Huntington and Ronkonkoma, New York.  

I like to make our meatball parmigiana subs just like they do.  And, every good one starts with a delicious meatball and Sunday sauce recipe. 

On Sundays, we often make a huge pot of sauce with meatballs, beef braciole, and Italian sausages. 

There are always leftovers, we plan on it, so making a meatball parmigiana hero is a no-brainer.

Small meatball sub on white plate with bowl of parmesan cheese on wood table.

Now, before we get to the recipe, I just want to point out that if you’re in a jam and don’t have meatballs and sauce on hand, you could get some at the store and still follow this recipe.  But, do try to use homemade sauce and meatballs, as it will be so much better!

Ingredients shown: 2 loafs Italian bread, 2 seeded rolls, block of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Meatball sub ingredients

  • Bread – The bread is so important.  Try to get good quality hero bread or a large loaf of Italian bread that can be cut into individual meatball sandwiches.  Shown above are 2 loaves, 1 seeded, and 1 plain of 16″ long Italian bread.  Each large loaf will make 2 servings.  Semolina or regular are both great.  Those little seeded rolls are for the kids.
  • Mozzarella cheese – Fresh mozzarella is good, but for this application, nothing beats whole milk block mozzarella.  If you live on the east coast, Polly-O is great and easy to find.
  • Grated cheese – Parmigiano Reggiano, good quality parmesan, or pecorino romano are all great choices.
  • Sauce and meatballs – As stated above, follow the in-depth instructions in this authentic Italian meatballs and Sunday sauce recipe, or buy good quality sauce and meatballs.  A good Italian specialty store such as A & S Pork Store in Massapequa, NY or Uncle Giuseppe’s have their own homemade sauces and meatballs.  Those places cover the New York metro but seek out your own favorite place.

How to make it

  1. First preheat the oven to 450f degrees and set the rack to the middle.  Next, grate the block of mozzarella.  If you don’t feel like grating the cheese, mozzarella can be purchased in sliced or pre-grated packages.

Meatball parm hero process shot collage group number one.

  1. Slice the Italian bread.  It works better to not cut all the way through, but either way is fine.
  2. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet.  Parchment paper (optional) allows for easy cleanup.

Meatball parm recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. With a warm pot of sauce and meatballs, add a healthy layer of sauce (about 1 cup per large loaf) to the Italian bread.
  2. The next step will be dictated by how big the meatballs are.  For small to medium sized ones lay them right onto the bread.  If they’re real big, just slice them or cut them in half before layering.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Layer the mozzarella all over the meatballs.  Use as much as you like.  A layer like shown is usually enough, but if you love a lot of cheese don’t hold back!  After the mozzarella, sprinkle 2 Tbsp of parmesan onto each large loaf.  Bake the meatball subs for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the bread is toasted.

Three meatball subs in a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

So that’s how to make the best meatball parm hero.  This technique will yield good results with store bought meatballs and sauce.  With homemade meatballs and sauce, this recipe will achieve amazing results!

What to serve with meatball parmigiana heroes

A light salad or green veggies balance out the hearty meatball heroes.

Top tips

  • Recipe uses 2 large loaves of Italian bread (about a 16″ long loaf)
  • Each loaf will yield two 7-8″ long meatball sandwiches.
  • Good quality homemade sauce and meatballs will produce the best results.
  • Whole milk block mozzarella is recommended.
  • Heat the sauce and meatballs prior to layering them on the bread so that the interior of the meatball is hot after the short baking time.
  • Serve the meatball heroes with more grated parmesan cheese.
  • Serve with extra sauce on the side for anyone who desires more or likes to dip.

One half of a meatball sub in white plate on wood table with a bowl of parmesan.

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Meatball Parm Hero Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Classic meatball parm hero with melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese on crusty Italian bread.

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450f and set oven rack to middle. Heat meatballs and sauce in a pot until the meatballs are warmed all the way through.
  • Grate 1 pound of mozzarella cheese.
  • Slice 2 large loaves of Italian bread and place on a sheet pan. Evenly distribute 2 cups of sauce onto inside of the 2 loaves.
  • Layer the meatballs onto the bread and top with the grated mozzarella. Evenly distribute the grated parmesan cheese on top of the mozzarella.
  • Bake the meatball heroes/subs until the cheese is bubbly and the bread is toasty (about 10 minutes). Remove from oven and cut in half. Recipe makes four 8" long heroes. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Recipe uses 2 large loaves of Italian bread (about a 16" long loaf)
  • Each loaf will yield two 7-8" long meatball sandwiches.
  • Good quality homemade sauce and meatballs will produce best results.
  • Whole milk block mozzarella is recommended.
  • Heat the sauce and meatballs prior to layering them on the bread so that the interior of the meatball is hot after the short baking time.
  • Serve the meatball heroes with more grated parmesan cheese.
  • Serve with extra sauce on the side for anyone who desires more or likes to dip.

Nutrition

Calories: 875kcal | Carbohydrates: 83.5g | Protein: 56.1g | Fat: 42.7g | Saturated Fat: 16.7g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 930mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 10.6g | Sugar: 24.1g | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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10 Comments

    1. Hi Audrey, I’ve never made this with garlic knots, but if you plan to I’d suggest making larger-sized garlic knots.