Is it just me, or doesn’t everybody love a great meatball? I brought these Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders to a party recently and they disappeared just like that!
I’m serving them on Hawaiian rolls, need I say more? Simmered low and slow, my tomato sauce is delicious. The star of the show is my mozzarella stuffed meatballs.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Cook Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Yields: 24 meatballs (golf-size)
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, 2 rimmed baking sheets, 1 (10-cup) food processor, large mixing bowl, 1 (2-ounce) cookie dough scoop, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, chef’s knife, parchment paper
Ingredients For Tomato Sauce:
2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 (7-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, purèed (substitute roasted red peppers)
1 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, torn
Ingredients For Stuffed Meatballs:
2 1/2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground beef, chicken, or turkey)
1/4 diced finely chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
24 (1/4-inch) diced (low-moisture) whole milk Mozzarella cheese
1/2 a cup of heavy cream
1/2 a cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup of store-bought fresh basil pesto
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, (1 tablespoon dried parsley)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 1/4 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
2 (12-ct.) packages of mini Hawaiian buns
Set the stove to medium, add olive, and red pepper flakes. Next, add diced onion and minced garlic, stirring frequently, cook for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent.
The next ingredient is tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste around and let it bloom in the hot oil. Add the unsalted chicken broth. Bring the broth up to a bubble and let the broth reduce by half. Pour in two cans of crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, and brown sugar, stir to combine.
Next, add purèed Piquillo peppers. These peppers give a nice sweetness and a bright red color to the sauce. Still, on medium heat let this sauce come up to a bubble, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer.
Continue to simmer the sauce on low heat for 2 hours before adding in the meatballs. While the sauce is simmering, start on the stuffed meatballs.
First, add olive oil to a sautè pan on medium heat. Add finely diced onion, minced garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and set it aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, add heavy cream, parsley, dried oregano, Kosher salt, pepper, ricotta cheese, fresh basil pesto, Worcestershire sauce, cooled onion and garlic mixture, beaten eggs, and Panko breadcrumbs. Once this is all mixed together, add the ground pork. Using a fork, mix both the ground pork and the flavorings together to combine. Do not overmix. This meatball mixture yields 24 golf ball size meatballs.
Next, dice the mozzarella cheese into 24 (1/2-inch) cubes. Using a (2-ounce) cookie-dough scoop, scoop the meat mixture into your hand. Place the cube of mozzarella into the center of the meat mixture wrapping the meat around the cheese as seen in the above pictures.
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
On two rimmed baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, place 12 meatballs on each sheet pan. Spray the meatballs with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. The meatballs will be golden brown. You could do this in a frying pan, but I find this way to be a lot easier, quicker, and not as messy.
At the same time, the sauce is simmering away on top of the stove, the meatballs are browning off in the oven. After 30 minutes, take the meatballs out of the oven, transfer them into the simmering sauce.
Simmer the meatballs, in the sauce, for another hour. Turn the heat off and add in some freshly torn basil leaves and gently stir through. Place a lid on the pot to keep everything warm until you are ready to make the mini sliders.
Slice the little sweet Hawaiian buns in half. Fill each with one with a Stuffed Meatball. Bring these delicious Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders to any party and they’ll be gone in no time. You won’t be able to eat just one.
There you have it, my Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Sliders.