Recipe Box, The Marinara Sauce Mystery, and Stuffed Marinara Meatball Subs with Basil Pesto

me: “I’m going out  with the girls tonight…  πŸ’…  πŸ’„  πŸ’ƒ  🍷  There’s leftover meatballs and marinara in the fridge you can heat up for  dinner”

him: “Okay, how do I fix it?”

meatball sandwich

me: “Just put it in a sauce pan and heat it up as you would soup, and toast the bread”

him: “Okay, I can do that”


Later that night, he is asleep  πŸ’€


me to myself:

“What is that on the drapes?”

“It looks like spaghetti sauce…

It is spaghetti sauce!”


{psst, I had to recreate the photo because I washed the spots off immediately}


“I know it wasn’t there this morning because I was photographing this table…how could it have gotten hereway over here…

I don’t see it anywhere else…how strange…how could there be 4 spots on the drapes and none anywhere else?  He wouldn’t have even eaten at this table…”


It’s wet too, I hope it doesn’t stain…what could have happened?? “

Where is Columbo when you need him…. πŸ”‘  he no doubt could solve this mystery!

Next morning


him:  “How was your dinner last night?”

me:  “It was so much fun, we went to Fisher’s”

him:  “Was it crowded, full of spring breakers and snowbirds?”

me:  “No, we had a reservation and it was really nice…how was your dinner?”

him:  “It was okay…”

me:  “When I got home last night I noticed some red spots on the drapes, do you know anything about that?”

him:  “No idea”

me:  “Funny thing, they were wet, and I’m pretty sure it was marinara sauce…”

him:  “That’s weird”


me: “Did you drop the container the marinara was in?  There’s a big crack in it!”

him:  😳

me:  “What happened?”

him:  πŸ˜†  I was embarrassed to tell you….

me:  “Oh, honey, how did you get sauce all the way over there?”

him:  πŸ˜“  “When I took the top off, it slipped out of my hand and sauce splattered, EVERYWHERE…”

πŸ…  πŸ’¦  πŸ…  πŸ’¦  πŸ…  πŸ’¦  πŸ…  πŸ’¦  πŸ…  πŸ’¦   πŸ… πŸ’¦

him:  😩  “It went all over everything, on the ice maker, the refrigerator, all over the floor…I thought I cleaned it all up…”

me:  πŸ’‹  “I feel terrible, why didn’t you tell me??  Bless your heart!”

And there it is, the Marinara Sauce Mystery is solved

Moral of the story, don’t leave your husband alone making a meatball sandwich  πŸ˜‰

Stuffed Meatball Marinara Sub with Pesto

Combine ground pork and Italian sausage, form into balls and brown in a skillet

SautΓ© chopped fennel and onion in a little of the sausage renderings

Place sauce, meatballs and sautΓ©ed vegetables in slow cooker and season

slow cooker meatball marinara

Make pesto and spread on the inside of bread and toast

pesto bread

Stuff meatballs and sauce into bread


top with cheese and broil to melt.  Serve with additional sauce and pesto on top

cheesy meatball sub

Or serve open face in a bowl, either way, you will need a knife and fork  πŸ˜‹

openface meatball sandwich

Stuffed Marinara Meatball Subs with Basil Pesto

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4



  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb sweet or hot Italian sausage casings removed
  • olive oil

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 bulb fennel cored and chopped
  • 1 large yellow or sweet onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 jars 24 oz. each, Marinara sauce, like Classico Cabernet Marinara
  • 1 T Italian seasoning divided
  • pinch sugar


  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 oz shaved Parmesan


  • French Bread loaf or submarine sandwich buns
  • 4 Mozzarella Provolone or Fontina cheese slices
  • 1-2 oz shaved Parmesan



  • Mix pork and sausage together and form into loose golf ball sized meatballs.
  • Working in batches, brown meatballs in a little olive oil.Β  Remove to paper towels and drain.Β  Makes 36-40 meatballs,Β  reserve half of meatballs and freeze.

Marinara Sauce

  • SautΓ© fennel and onion in a little rendered sausage fat until softened.Β  Add garlic and cook 1 more minute or until fragrant.
  • Place 1 jar of sauce in slow cooker.Β  Add half of Italian seasoning and sugar.
  • Add 16-20 meatballs.Β  Top with fennel and onion.
  • Add remaining jar of sauce, and sprinkle with remaining Italian seasoning.Β  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.


  • Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse.Β  Makes about 1/2 cup

Sandwich Assembly

  • Make a slit in buns or slice French bread vertically, leaving one end together.*
  • Spread a little pesto inside bread and toast.
  • Place bread or rolls in a baking pan and fill with meatballs and sauce.
  • Top with cheese slices and a sprinkle of Parmesan.Β  Place under broiler to melt cheese, watching carefully.
  • Garnish with additional sauce and small dollops of pesto.Β Β  Serves 4


*or serve meatballs and sauce in a bowl with pesto toasted bread on the side
Keyword basil pesto, marinara meatball sub with pesto, marinara sauce, meatball sub, meatballs
pesto topped meatball marinara stuffed sub

You might also want to try this Meatball Sub Casserole

stuffed meatball sub



I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs

Celebrate and DecorateRustic and Refined,

Between Naps on the Porch, Coastal Charm, Cooking and Crafting with J&J, The Scoop, Something to Talk AboutA Stroll Thru Life 

Crafty Staci,   Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday

Poofing the Pillows, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Style, Work it Wednesday

Home Matters, Idea BoxGet Your DIY On

20 Responses to “Recipe Box, The Marinara Sauce Mystery, and Stuffed Marinara Meatball Subs with Basil Pesto”
  1. Lynn says:

    Ha,ha, poor Hubby. I find that guys generally do much better outside at the grill:@)

  2. Jenna, Thank you for the laugh to start my day!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Hilarious! I am training my hubby now in kitchen cleanup skills, in anticipation of retirement in a few years. Sounds like yours did pretty well, considering the way sauce can fly. He must have been frantically scrubbing up every bit he could see. Have a great day~~hope you don’t find anymore little red dot surprises! Linda

  3. p.s. I LOVE meatball subs and your version with the pesto sounds delicious! L.

  4. Mary says:

    Jenna, I’m glad the mystery was solved πŸ™‚ I know from experience just how far any kind of red wine or sauce will splatter and fly when dropped! I love your addition of the pesto with the meatballs and marinara!

  5. Mary says:

    P.S. Glorious sunset shot!

  6. Jodi says:

    what a sweet hubby you have πŸ™‚

  7. Candy S says:

    Just too funny Jenna, I sat here laughing as I read the mystery of the marinara sauce with my dear hubby asking what was so funny. He just didn’t get why your story was so funny to me! You are lucky that he owned up to his mishap, my hubby would have sworn on a stack of bibles that he knew nothing!

  8. Linda says:

    Well Jenna, that was quite the story. Like you said, your hubby was too embarrassed to say any thing. He thought he cleaned it all up…LOL evidence for sure. This recipe my husband would love. Thanks for sharing at DI&DI.

  9. Best story ever! I love the emoji’s too! Thanks for making me laugh out loud!

    Happy day!

  10. ms lemon tart says:

    Such a funny story. Now I’m hungry.

  11. Too Funny! I can only imagine your expression! “we” don’t miss a thing! And let them not forget that. πŸ™‚ Looks yummy. A must try.

    • thanks Linda! I loved your pretty white pitcher post, but as I mentioned to you before, I don’t see where to leave a comment…I loved all your groupings, and such a cute idea to use them for utensils on the kitchen counter! >

  12. Rhonda says:

    Bless his heart… he was trying so hard, I bet! πŸ˜‰ At least he made a good attempt at the clean-up! lol! Sure does look yummy, hope he was able to salvage some for his supper! ~Rhonda

  13. Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

    How funny! You and I would have grabbed the camera and photographed the mess so we could blog about it. But the sandwich looks great!

  14. Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

    My comment went through!!!!!!!!

  15. Jenna, bless your husband’s heart…funny story! We love anything Italian, so I think I need to try this recipe!

  16. JESS44903 says:

    Haha…awwwww… πŸ™‚

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  17. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Jenna,
    I really would not mind being left at home with that awesome sub, it looks fantastic! Hope you have a very special week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Miz Helen

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