These are serious sliders. Super flavorful, juicy and the kind you can just barely get your mouth around.
This version is adapted from the Meatball Shop’s recipe. I like to mix the grind the night prior to really let the flavors settle in. Also, this is my preferred tomato sauce. Smooth and thick enough to coat each of the meatballs. This recipe can be easily doubled if you are feeding a hungry crowd.
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp fennel seed, toasted
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- Olive oil for greasing
Place the oregano, pepper flakes, fennel seed black pepper and salt into a spice ground or mortar and pestle. Grind until crushed. Stir the spice mix into the ricotta and then add the egg and bread crumbs. Once combined, add the ground beef and mix well. Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking tray with olive oil. Divide the filling into 15 meatballs, about 1/3 cup filling and roll them to coat in the olive oil.
Roast for 25 minutes until slightly browned. Strain off the fat and place the meatballs into the sauce below. Cook on a bare simmer for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
Tomato Sauce and Assembly
I like a smooth but thick tomato sauce for my sliders. A chunky tomato sauce has the potential to be messy and is better over pasta rather than in my sandwich and eventually on my clothes.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 28 oz. jar strained tomato
- 28 oz. low sodium beef stock
- One 4 oz. can tomato paste
- 15 slider buns or these brioche buns
- 15 basil leaves
- 15 slices of provolone or mozzarella
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the garlic and onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Add the oregano, pepper flakes and bay leaves cooking until fragrant. Pour in the puree, stock and paste. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook on low for 45-50 minutes. For an extra smooth sauce, puree the sauce using an immersion blender.
To assemble, slice the buns in half and toast gently. Top with a slice of cheese, a hot meatball coated in sauce, leaf of basil and a fresh grate of pepper. Hold everything together with a cocktail toothpick and serve.