Messy Giuseppes (Sloppy Joe’s Italian Cousin)

This recipe is courtesy of Rachael Ray, from the 16 January 2007 Rachael Ray Show. Our family really enjoys Messy Giuseppes; in fact, we had them last night, and they were delish!

Messy Giuseppe – Sloppy Joe’s Italian Cousin

I mostly follow Rachael’s recipe, just a few modifications. It does call for ground sirloin; we have subbed in ground turkey (and veggie broth) before and that was good too. A meat substitute and veggie broth could be used for a vegetarian dish. Also, you can just make the bread at the end for a great cheesy garlic bread to serve with something else.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound ground, 90 percent lean sirloin [Can use ground turkey or meat substitute]
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium portobello mushroom cap, finely chopped [We don’t like mushrooms, so I sub a red pepper instead]
  • 1/8 teaspoon (eyeball it) allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (a couple of glugs) red wine
  • 3/4 cup beef stock [We use vegetable broth, we like the taste better]
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup (a generous handful) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 5-8 fresh basil leaves, about 1/4 cup, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (a small handful) grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 4 individual ciabatta rolls or any kind of crusty hoagie rolls
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices


For the meat sauce, heat a deep skillet or a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of EVOO, twice around the pan. Add the ground beef and cook until lightly browned, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon. Add green pepper, onion, ¾ of the garlic, mushrooms, allspice, red pepper flakes and a little salt and pepper to the beef and cook for about 5-8 minutes.

Add the wine and cook another minute then add the beef stock, Worcestershire and tomatoes. Bring the mixture up to a bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Finish it by stirring in a handful of chopped parsley.[Maybe it’s because I don’t use mushrooms, but our beef mixture still has a lot of liquid at this point. I simmer for longer until it thickens up more.]

While the meat is simmering, combine the remaining garlic with the soft butter, basil, parmesan cheese and a little salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Split the rolls in half lengthwise without cutting all the way through and separating the halves. Press open the rolls by flattening them out a little bit. Slather the insides with the butter and place 2 slices of the mozzarella on each roll. Toast until golden brown under the broiler, about 2-3 minutes. [We only do mozzarella on one half, leaving the other half with just the garlic butter. It is really good without the cheese!]

Top one side of the cheesy garlic rolls with a heap of meat and get prepared to get sloppy with Messy Giuseppe! [For me, this sandwich is too big to eat like this. I serve it open face, with the meat on both sides of the bread, and use a knife and fork instead.]


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