Italian Meatball Slider

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Meatball Slider with different buns on a platter.

A cross between a meatball sandwich and a hamburger, this recipe for an Italian Meatball Slider was the hit of the 2012 NYC Food and Wine Show. It’s a classic that will never go out of style.

Italian Meatball Slider

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 20% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage (removed from casings if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup, or as needed, Italian style bread crumbs (or you could use panko along with some italian seasonings and parmesan cheese)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Freshly ground pepper, and salt, to taste
  • Small fresh mozzarella balls (also known as Ciliegine), cut in half
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Slider buns, or potato dinner rolls (I used dinner rolls as I couldn't find slider buns, or you could use a biscuit cutter and make your own out of hamburger buns, saving whatever is left to make breadcrumbs)
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar marinara sauce (or homemade)
  • 1 recipe Spinach/Artichoke Pesto
  • Fresh spinach, arugula or basil leaves

Method

Step 1

Make the sliders:

Mix the beef, sausage, bread crumbs, onion, parsley, garlic, egg, pepper, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a meatball with about 2 1/2 ounces of meat. Place a half mozzarella ball in the middle and close the meat around it. Flatten slightly with your hand to resemble more of a fat hamburger than a round meatball.

Broil until cooked, turning once.

Step 2

Place the meatballs into the marinara sauce that has been heated in a large skillet. Turn to coat. Allow to simmer in the sauce for a few minutes.

Step 3

Lightly coat the cut side of the bun with olive oil. Heat a cookie sheet in a 375ยบ F oven, place cut side down on the baking sheet and bake until the cut side is just beginning to brown, but the bun is still soft; about 5 minutes.

Step 4

Place the meatball onto the bun, add a little marinara over the top. Spread the top of the bun with some of the pesto, top the meatball with a spinach leaf, some arugula or a basil leaf, and top with the bun. Serve immediately.


 

The story behind an Italian Meatball Slider

A printer-friendly recipe card can be found at the bottom of this post

 

Meatball Slider on a platter with a white towel in the background.

 

My client, Colavita USA, challenged me when they said they needed something to serve at the 2012 NYC Food and Wine Show. Because it’s a show, the food has to be portable, easy to eat, and being a foodie show, it has to be delish.

Thinking of a classic meatball sandwich, which is neither easy to eat or very portable, I came up with this mini version, an Italian Meatball slider.  Its small size makes it easy to eat, one or two bites and you are done,  and the flavors are fantastic. Very reminiscent of a classic meatball sandwich.

One of the first things I did was put the cheese inside the burger.  This way there was less to slip and slide out of the bun.  A little surprise in your first bite.

 

Fresh from the broiler, meatball sliders ready to assemble.

 

Since cooking and serving at a show like this always presents its own set of challenges, I also thought of allowing them to cook the burger first, in a kitchen, then use the marinara to reheat them and coat them in the sauce.  It worked perfectly!

You could use a jarred marinara sauce, or homemade. Making your own is always best IMHO and so easy to make a large batch and keep some in the freezer. 

To finish these sliders, I topped them with some peppery arugula and a dollop of Spinach Artichoke Pesto. It’s a great combination.

 

A plate of meatball sliders showing all the tasty toppings.

 

I was told that these Italian Meatball Sliders, along with my recipe for  Polenta Fries with Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup.  were the hit of the show.

Easy, fun and tasty!

Ciao!

 

Yield: 8 servings

Italian Meatball Slider

Meatball Slider on a platter with a white towel in the background.

This Italian Meatball slider is cross between a meatball sandwich and a hamburger with some peppery arugula and creamy spinach artichoke pesto.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 20% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage (removed from casings if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup, or as needed, Italian style bread crumbs (or you could use panko along with some Italian seasonings and parmesan cheese)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Freshly ground pepper, and salt, to taste
  • Small fresh mozzarella balls (also known as Ciliegine), cut in half
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Slider buns, or potato dinner rolls (I used dinner rolls as I couldn't find slider buns, or you could use a biscuit cutter and make your own out of hamburger buns, saving whatever is left to make breadcrumbs)
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar marinara sauce (or homemade)
  • 1 recipe Spinach/Artichoke Pesto
  • Fresh spinach, arugula or basil leaves

Instructions

Step 1

Make the sliders:

Mix the beef, sausage, bread crumbs, onion, parsley, garlic, egg, pepper, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a meatball with about 2 1/2 ounces of meat. Place a half mozzarella ball in the middle and close the meat around it. Flatten slightly with your hand to resemble more of a fat hamburger than a round meatball. 

Broil until cooked, turning once. About 3 minutes per side.

Step 2

Place the meatballs into the marinara sauce that has been heated in a large skillet. Turn to coat. Allow to simmer in the sauce for a few minutes.

Step 3

Lightly coat the cut side of the bun with olive oil. Heat a cookie sheet in a 375º F oven, place cut side down on the baking sheet and bake until the cut side is just beginning to brown, but the bun is still soft; about 5 minutes.

Step 4

Place the meatball onto the bun, add a little marinara over the top. Spread the top of the bun with some of the pesto, top the meatball with a spinach leaf, some arugula or a basil leaf, and top with the bun. Serve immediately.

Notes

Find the recipe for Spinach Artichoke Pesto here

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 632mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gProtein: 29g

Nutritional values may not be 100% accurate


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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Margie Rasmussen on March 14, 2013

    that sounds awesome…can’t wait to try them!

      Reply
  2. posted by LindySez on March 14, 2013

    Let me know what you think. And do try the polenta fries!

      Reply

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