I remember these sandwiches from when I was a kid. They were “special occasion” sandwiches in that I knew just about every time they made an appearance, we were going to have company. My mom made these a lot of nights when she hosted her card club, and she’d serve them on some family holidays, too. (Random: why doesn’t our generation play more cards)?
I always figured she made these for company because they were deliciously awesome (which, they are), but they’re also the perfect thing for entertaining. They freeze beautifully, so you can make these in anticipation of any event (big football game, perhaps?). After you make the sandwiches and wrap them in foil, stick them in the freezer instead of the oven. Then, just pull them out when you need them and throw them straight into the oven to bake. Or, just make them and bake them.
Prerogative. It’s yours.
Either way, though, something happens to these babies when they bake. They go into the oven looking very much like an Italian version of a sloppy joe, but when they come out, the sauce has sort of baked into the bun, and they’ve turned into a melty, saucy, delectable mix of sausage and herbs.
I’ve adapted these just slightly with a different cheese (mom uses mozzarella) and some fresh basil. Otherwise, these are the original.
- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage (hot or mild)
- 1 lb. ground chuck
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- 3 T. finely chopped fresh basil
- 8 French hamburger buns (or any sturdy roll)
- 4 oz. fontina, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the sausage and ground chuck in a large, non-stick skillet. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring often and breaking the meat up with your spatula, until it is cooked through (about 10-12 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and drain the grease from the pan.
- Place the skillet back over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce and oregano, and stir to combine. Simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and stir in the basil.
- Spoon the meat mixture evenly onto the hamburger buns, top the meat with fontina slices, and then wrap each sandwich in foil.
- Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.