A few weeks ago we hosted a party for a group of friends and I perused recipes to come up with my menu. I'm always thinking of what would be easy but hearty finger foods since it wasn't to be a sit-down dinner. It's also a fun opportunity to try out new recipes and this year I really wanted to tackle Italian Meatball Sliders.
This recipe is not for the faint of heart. They are SO much work! And so many steps: the miniature bread rolls (from scratch), the tomato sauce (from scratch), the meatballs (from scratch), and then assembling all of the parts. This recipe is from The Little Owl Restaurant in NYC (I've dined there!) and was featured on the cover of Bon Appetit September 2007 magazine. I'd thought about making these since first spotting the photo back then...three years ago.
The good news is that most of this can be made a day ahead and that's what we did. Two friends came over the day before our party to help and we got to work. I had done the grocery shopping the day before as well. We mixed up 9 pounds (!) of ground meat: beef, Italian sausage, and ground turkey and the other ingredients and formed them into 2-inch meatballs. Then we browned these in a large saute pan, and placed them in a large roasting pan in layers, with foil in between. They then went into the refrigerator for safe-keeping until the day of the party when they were reheated in the oven before assembling. Needless, to say, we made meatballs for HOURS!
I also made the tomato sauce from scratch the day before, letting it simmer while we worked on the meatballs. I then covered it and refrigerated it until the day of the party too. The morning of the party I got up early and made two batches of miniature parmesan bread rolls from scratch (so much worK!, and baked and covered them to wait. During the party my friend, Cheryl, helped me assemble a tray of the sliders: we cut open the buns, started with baby arugula leaves, added a heated meatball, topped with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of grated parmesan. We pushed a long toothpick through to hold the slider together and passed the tray. They were fun-looking and tasted delicious!
But...they were SO much work that I probably won't make them again EVER and certainly not without a fully staffed kitchen crew to prep, cook, and clean-up the dishes afterward. We had a lot of meatballs leftover at the end (but no buns) and so we sent them home with friends who helped us at the party. Kev and I also ate meatballs for the remainder of the week. I'm so done with meatball sliders! It's off the list.