Who doesn't love a meatball sandwich? This version ups the ante with a garlic butter melting into the crusty baguette.
50 mlolive oil1onion, diced2garlic cloves, finely chopped800 gmcanned cherry tomatoes500 ml(2 cups) passata100 mlred wine2fresh bay leaves2thyme sprigs1 tbspred wine vinegar, or to taste2medium crusty baguettes, split lengthwaysTo serve:shaved parmesan and wild rocketGarlic butter150 gmsoftened butter1garlic clove, finely chopped40 gmfinely grated parmesan¼ cupfinely chopped flat-leaf parsleyFinelygrated rind of 1 lemon, juice of 2Pork and veal meatballs1½ tbspolive oil½onion, finely diced1garlic clove, finely chopped60 gmmild pancetta, diced500 gm eachminced pork and minced veal100 gmfirm ricotta30 gm eachfinely grated parmesan and pecorino30 gmfine fresh white breadcrumbs2 tbsp eachfinely chopped oregano and flat-leaf parsley2 tsp eachfinely chopped thyme and rosemary1eggTo taste:freshly grated nutmeg
For pork and veal meatballs, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, garlic and pancetta, and sauté until tender and fragrant (4-5 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, cool completely, then add remaining ingredients, season to taste and mix well with your hands to combine. Roll into golfball-sized balls, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes).
Heat half the oil in a casserole, add onion and garlic and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes). Add cherry tomatoes, passata, wine and herbs, season to taste and simmer until beginning to thicken (15-20 minutes). Season to taste and set aside.
Preheat oven to 160C. Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan, add meatballs and brown all over. Add to tomato sauce, transfer to oven and bake, turning meatballs occasionally, until cooked through and sauce is thick and rich (30-40 minutes). Remove from oven, discard herbs and stir in vinegar.
For garlic butter, beat ingredients in a bowl to combine and season to taste.
Heat grill to high. Spread garlic butter all over the inside of both baguettes and grill until golden and bubbling (2-3 minutes). Fill baguettes with meatballs, top with sauce, shaved parmesan and rocket, cut each into 2 or 3 portions and serve hot.