If you can say one thing about Italians, it's that they love to eat — and they know how to do food right. But if you aren't eating Italian sandwiches the authentic way, then you're missing out. If you've been getting an Italian-style sandwich from a chain restaurant, for example, your head is probably going to explode when you try a real Italian hoagie with authentic ingredients.

To keep it a real Italian hoagie: You’ll need to hold the mustard, hold the mayonnaise, hold the bacon, pickles and sliced avocado. Because honestly, they just don't belong in a real Italian hoagie..

First you must buy the best 12-inch Italian-style hoagie roll you can get your hands on (you can't go wrong with our Italian Hoagie rolls: Simply the best!), slice the rolls horizontally (but not all the way through), and then layer accordingly:

  • Deli-sliced boiled ham
  • Deli-sliced capicola
  • Deli-sliced provolone cheese
  • Deli-sliced Genoa salami
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Thinly sliced tomato
  • Thinly sliced white onion
  • Red wine vinegar and oil (extra-virgin olive oil is fine)
  • Salt, pepper, Italian oregano
  • Hot or sweet peppers, if desired

You can stuff your Italian hoagies with as much meat and cheese as you like, but I've found that 1/4 pound of each meat and cheese above yields about two good-size, well-proportioned hoagies.

Just slice in half (or on a bias) and serve with homemade Italian potato chips and an ice-cold drink (such as a sparkling rosemary limeade.

Real Italian hoagie recipe

Yields 2


  • 2 (12-inch) Rêver Artisan Bakery Italian hoagie rolls
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced boiled ham
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced capicola
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 thinly sliced large tomato
  • 1 thinly sliced white onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or canola oil), divided
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar, divided
  • Salt, pepper, Italian oregano
  • Hot and/or sweet peppers, if desired


  1. Slice the rolls horizontally, being careful to not slice all the way through.
  2. Open up the rolls, and layer on the ham, capicola, provolone cheese and Genoa salami (about 4 slices each).
  3. Top with lettuce, tomato slices, onion, 1 tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons of vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and peppers, if desired. Slice and serve.



First, pick your bread. Personally, I like an Italian-style roll, one of those loaves that's a little wider than a traditional French baguette, as white as bleached linens, super soft throughout, with a potato-chip-thin crust that crackles and makes a mess of crumbs and flakes on your shirt when you bite through it. My reasoning is that meatballs are (or should be) tender, and I don't want my bread fighting with them—a loaf that's too sturdy won't play nice with such a squishable filling. The crust should have just enough personality to add some crackle, but nothing substantial enough to make biting difficult. The best roll I have found is the Rêver Artisan Bakery Italian Hoagie roll.

I warm the loaf in an oven, but don't toast for the same reason I choose soft bread: except for that flaky crisp crust, I want tenderness to surround my meatballs. Once it's warmed, I trim off the knobby, tough ends of the loaf, because, honestly, does anyone really like gnawing through those parts? I know I don't, and I especially don't like the way crusty ends can crush a tender meatballs. Then I slice the bread in half, drizzle some olive oil on the top and bottom pieces, and give them a quick rub with a raw clove of garlic to punch the flavor up a little bit.



  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients.
  2. Crumble beef over mixture and sprinkle with cracker crumbs.
  3. Mix gently.
  4. Shape into 1 inch balls.
  5. Place in ungreased 15x10 inch baking pan.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. For Sauce:
  9. In a large sauce pan, combine the tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, parsley and salt.
  10. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  11. Add meatballs.
  12. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until heated through.
  13. serve meatballs and sauce on buns.
  14. Top with mozzarella cheese if desired.
Terry Ramsey