Recipe courtesy of Ian Knauer
Meatball Sliders with Mozzarella and Basil
1 hr 15 min
30 min
12 sliders
1 hr 15 min
30 min
12 sliders


  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes in juice
  • Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup torn day-old white bread
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 12 slider rolls, split
  • 12 basil leaves


1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy medium pot over medium heat. Stir in half the garlic and cook, stirring until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Season the sauce with salt to taste.

2. Cook the onion with the remaining garlic in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool. (Reserve and wipe out the skillet.)

3. Soak bread in milk until soft, about 5 minutes. Squeeze the bread to remove excess milk, and discard the milk.

4. Beat the eggs with the cooled onions. Mix in the soaked bread, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix until evenly combined. Then gently stir in pork to combine. Form into 12 meatballs, each about 2 inches in diameter, and arrange on a plastic-lined baking sheet.

5. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then brown the meatballs turning once, about 6 minutes total. Add the tomato sauce to the skillet and simmer, covered, until meatballs are just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes more. Set a meatball on the bottom of a roll, top with sauce, a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf. Top with the other half of the roll. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve.

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