Feb 27
Mini Meatball Sliders with Basil Pesto7 Comments

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My mom has been making sliders for as long as I can remember, there is something just so irresistible about them. When summer rolls around, I love to make them on the grill. I also love serving them at parties because it allows everyone to sample different foods. My mom knows I love them so much that she made them for my bridal shower. That is a lot of love. I bookmarked this recipe over a year ago, and I am so happy that I finally made them.

I loved the idea of turning cheesy meatballs sandwiches into sliders and then topping then with pesto. A genius idea I tell you. The combination of flavors here is classic and they work perfectly together. They were even better the next day as leftovers for lunch. I did make the pesto and sauce from scratch as is reflected below, but in all honesty I can see myself using my favorite jar of sauce and pesto on a weeknight when I am in a pinch. This meatball recipe makes a ton so I ended up freezing the other batch for a future dinner night. I love that I can make these again or end up just doing good old spaghetti & meatballs.

Mini Meatball Sliders with Basil Pesto

Yield: about 20 sliders
For the sauce:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
Water (optional)

For the meatballs:
½ cup breadcrumbs, divided
¼ cup milk
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley
½ tsp. dried basil

For the pesto:
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 small cloves garlic
2 tbsp. pine nuts
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sliders:
About 2 dozen white dinner rolls or make your own 😉
Spray olive oil
Sliced provolone cheese (about 12 slices, depending on size)

What you’ll do:
To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion to the pot and sauté until tender, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and sugar. Add water to thin the sauce out to your desired consistency. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for at least 2 hours.

To make the meatballs, combine ¼ cup of the breadcrumbs with the milk in a medium mixing bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Add the remaining breadcrumbs, ground beef, egg, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and basil to the bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Form into meatballs, about 1¼ inches in diameter. Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce about 45 minutes before the sauce is finished. Cover and let simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 35-45 minutes.

To make the pesto, combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube until well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the sliders, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Slice the dinner rolls in half and lay open on a baking sheet. Spray the rolls lightly with olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes, just until lightly toasted. Slice a cooked meatball in half and place both halves on the bottom portion of a roll, flat side down. Spoon a small amount of sauce over the meatball. Top with sliced provolone. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Bake again, 5 minutes more, just until the cheese is melted. Spoon a small amount of additional sauce over the provolone, and finish small spoonful of the pesto on top. Serve immediately.

Source: Annie’s Eats; originally from The Comfort of Cooking

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7 Responses to Mini Meatball Sliders with Basil Pesto

  1. These would be perfect for catering! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Denise says:

    I recently posted about sliders (and how I miss them here in Holland) and your version looks so good and sounds fantastic. Cheesy meatballs, and pesto? I’m in!

  3. Simply Tia says:

    Sounds like these meatball sliders are loaded with flavor! YUMMY.

  4. Sara says:

    Oh, this looks so wonderful! Love meatballs – bet they make for amazing little sliders! The pesto also looks like a great addition, yum! :)

  5. Kevin says:

    Those meatball sliders look so good and I like the pesto topping!

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