When I think of Sliders my mind automatically relates them to American Cuisine. I envision them topped with American cheese, ketchup, mustard and a pickle served along side a nice heaping pile of crispy French fries. The main reason I loved this recipe from the get go was because I loved the twist on the traditional preparation of those bitty burgers. Slider buns are so easy to find these days in the bread section of any grocery store and they even readily offer 100% whole wheat options. I am not the biggest fan of Italian sausage, but found that my ingredient choice of using a mild version was the perfect compromise and ensured the slider wasn't overcome by an anise flavor.
Italian Meatball Sliders
Adapted from Cooking Light March 2012
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 shallots, finely diced
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), toasted
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 ounces lean ground pork
2 (4-ounce) links Mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
12 wheat slider buns, toasted
12 basil leaves
12 small slices of fresh mozzarella
1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add garlic and shallots to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until shallots are softened, stirring frequently.
Combine shallot mixture, ricotta, and next 8 ingredients (through egg) in a medium bowl.
Shape mixture into 12 (1-inch) meatballs; flatten each meatball slightly.
2. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add meatballs to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning once.
Add marinara sauce; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until meatballs are done. Top meatball slider with a slice of cheese and cover the skillet for 2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
Top bottom half of each bun with 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce, 1 meatball slider, 1 basil leaf, and top half of bun.
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