The meatballs soaked in the sauce overnight in the fridge absorbing the flavors. I took them out of the fridge to bring them to room temperature an hour before I intended to make the sandwiches. The idea was to get plenty of sauce into the sandwich but not to the point that eating the sandwich would be an ultra messy affair.
What was the effect of bringing out the meatballs without reheating them in the sauce? The sauce did not thin out (it would have had I reheated the meatballs on the stove) while stuffing the bread. Even when the meatballs were lifted, the sauce clung to them as though each vehemently refused to let go of the other.
To make the sandwich making and toasting even less messy, after topping each meatball with a thick slice of mozzarella, I arranged the baguettes in a baking tray cut side up. It was a breeze to put them in the baking tray and it was a breeze moving them to individual plates with a kitchen tong. No sauce dripping all over. Not even while biting into the sandwich.
Bread tip: The baguettes used here had soft fluffy centers. Just like what’s used for making banh mi in Vietnam. If your bread is dense, scoop out the inside to give room for the meatballs. You want them to snuggle comfortably, like resting in a cradle, before the sandwiches go into the oven.
- 3 mini baguettes
- 9 meatballs in tomato sauce at room temperature (get the recipe)
- 100 grams mozzarella cut into two-inch squares thicker than a quarter inch
- basil leaves to garnish
- extra tomato sauce for dipping
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Toast the baguettes just until crisp outside, about three to four minutes.
- Split the baguettes lengthwise without going all the way through.
- Stuff three meatballs coated in tomato sauce into each baguette.
- Top each meatball with a slice of mozzarella.
- Arrange the stuffed baguettes in a baking tray cut side up.
- Toast in the oven for five to six minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Sprinkle the meatball sandwiches with basil leaves before serving.