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Italian-Style Sloppy Joes


Here's a new twist on a Classic Sloppy Joe-- one made with a thick spaghetti sauce and served over thick slices of garlic French bread. It's super simple to make, and my family loved it. Recipe is very slightly adapted from "The Pioneer Woman"

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 splash white or regular balsamic vinegar (optional, my variation)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • 8 slices French bread
  • 1 stick (8-tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Servings 6
Preparation time 30mins
Cooking time 45mins
Adapted from


Step 1

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the beef. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it is well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then remove the beef and drain off the fat.

To the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and cook the peppers and onions until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, sugar, oregano and basil and bring to a simmer.

Return the beef to the pan and simmer until the mixture is nice and thick, about 10 minutes. If it gets too thick, thin it with a little water. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Optional: I added a splash of white balsamic vinegar, and that gave a little extra acidity to the sauce.

Garlic Toast:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet.

In a bowl, mix together the butter, Parmesan, oil, parsley, garlic powder, paprika and oregano until it forms a paste. Season with salt and pepper, then spread the mixture on the bread.

Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

To serve: Spoon a nice portion of sauce over each of 4 slices of the Garlic Toast. Let the sauce cascade over the sides, then prop a second piece of Garlic Toast over to the side of each. Garnish with extra grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.

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