About this recipe: This is a hearty, all-in-one dish that's easy to make. Cubed ciabatta is baked with beef meatballs and mozzarella in a rich, tomato sauce.
I know some hate when others post reviews that tell all about what they did differently, but I figure...hey, many people have made this & found it to be great....so why not tell what I did...maybe it will inspire you!!! 1.) I made my meatballs out of ground chicken! They only need 15 mins. at 400..just be sure to lightly spray your sheet with cooking spray! I also combined the minced garlic in with my chickenballs.... 2.) As another reviewer suggested...I omitted the mayo & replaced it with ricotta...did I mention that the ricotta/cream cheese mixture was good enough to spread on my body?!?! 3.)Probably the biggest change I made was how I used the bread....I bought the roundish italian loaf, did my best Subway sandwhich artist impression, and removed the top portion. I then removed most (but not all) the fluffy bread guts to make a bowl (and tossed the guts). I smeared the cream/ricotta cheese mixture on the bottom & sides of the bowl, and added some to the underside of the breadbowl lid. (This way b/c I thought spreading each breadcube with the mixture sounded too time consuming...and half the breadcubes prolly would of ended up popped in my mouth!!!) I then layered the cheese & chicken balls, baked 25 minutes WITHOUT the breadbowl lid, and about 5-10 with the breadbowl lid in place...to serve, just slice....my "boys" (my fiance & his best friend) raved over this for at least an hour....and they are food snobs!!!! - 08 Jan 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
This was possibly the most amazing thing I've ever made! I put my whole loaf of bread in the pan and stuck it in the oven while it preheated to toast it because I knew I wouldn't like it if it was soggy. I bought 1 and a half pounds of fresh meatballs instead of making my own to save time and I sliced my bread into 7 slices instead of cubing it so it would be easier to fit in the pan and easier to spread the cream cheese mix over. I microwaved the cream cheese stuff for about 30 seconds to make it more spreadable. I skipped the water to avoid soggy bread but added an extra cup of spaghetti sauce since I had more than a pound of meatballs. The result was so delicious I thought about it all the next day. My bread wasn't soggy and there were enough meatballs and sauce to make every bite loaded. My boyfriend didn't like the mayonnaise taste so next time I'll use less of that but I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who enjoys meatball sandwiches. - 21 Dec 2001 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
With some tweaks, this was pretty darn good. I couldn't imagine mayonnaise combined with the other Italian ingredients, so I used ricotta cheese in place of the mayo. I made sure the bread was day-old and crusty so it would not get soggy. Even the next day, the bread was fine. And I didn't use any water with the spaghetti sauce, just sauce and garlic. This was a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs type casserole - perfect for cold winter nights. - 07 Dec 2006 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)