Meatball Sliders with Homemade Tomato Sauce Slideshow

By
Arthur Bovino

These gorgeous tomatoes have just been parboiled in pot of boiling water -- an essential step before making any homemade tomato sauce.

To do this: Boil a pot of water. Using a paring knife, mark the bottom of each tomato with an 'X' the size of your fingertip. Then use the knife to core out the very top of the stem on each tomato. Prepare an ice bath (a big bowl of cold water filled with ice.)

Lower tomatoes into the water in batches, 3 or 4 at a time. Boil for 30 seconds to a minute, until the skins start to peel but not longer or the flesh will become mushy. Immediately remove them with a slotted spoon and place in the ice bath to stop the cooking process. 

Flash-Boil Tomatoes for Tomato Gravy

Arthur Bovino

These gorgeous tomatoes have just been parboiled in pot of boiling water -- an essential step before making any homemade tomato sauce.

To do this: Boil a pot of water. Using a paring knife, mark the bottom of each tomato with an 'X' the size of your fingertip. Then use the knife to core out the very top of the stem on each tomato. Prepare an ice bath (a big bowl of cold water filled with ice.)

Lower tomatoes into the water in batches, 3 or 4 at a time. Boil for 30 seconds to a minute, until the skins start to peel but not longer or the flesh will become mushy. Immediately remove them with a slotted spoon and place in the ice bath to stop the cooking process. 

Four Types of Meat

Arthur Bovino

Many meatball recipes call for some combination of beef, veal, and pork. I go equal parts with the addition of spicy Italian sausage mixed in (casing removed.) 

Remaining Meatball Ingredients

Arthur Bovino

Before mixing, all of the meatball ingredients are combined in a large bowl: red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, eggs,  minced fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic cloves, and breadcrumbs (I prefer Panko). 

Combining the Ingredients

Arthur Bovino

Do not overmix and create a paste! Combine all the ingredients gently, trying to keep the integrity of the meat. Gingerly form meatballs just a little bit larger than a golf ball. Do not pack them.

Browning the Meatballs

Arthur Bovino

Brown the meatballs — about a half a minute on each side. Repeat until the meatballs have all been browned.

Bake the Meatballs

Arthur Bovino

Place meatballs on the tray, one on each piece of reserved tomato peel.

Meatballs Removed from Oven

Arthur Bovino

The cooked meatballs are going to be placed into the rich, tomato gravy to cook while we return the tomato peels to the often (you'll find out why in a minute.) 

Add Meatballs to the Gravy

Arthur Bovino

The meatballs are cooking slowly in the tomato gravy, and are left on low heat while the sliders are being prepared. 

Tomato Peel Garnish

Arthur Bovino

You've undoubtedly seen fried leaf garnishes before, a basil leaf that's been fried so that it becomes crisp, delicate and translucent. The same principle is at work here. You can deep-fry the tomato skins, or as in this case, place the tomato peels under the meatballs so that all the flavor of the meat and fat seeps into them, making the garnishes taste even better. (We place them back in the oven for a few minutes to reach that perfect level of crunch). 

Reserve the Tomato Peel Garnish

Arthur Bovino

The flavor-packed tomato peels are ready and waiting. 

The Bread

Arthur Bovino

Start preparing the bread.

Halve a Loaf of Sesame Bread

Arthur Bovino

Halve a large loaf of sesame bread down the center.

Creating Thin Slider Buns

Arthur Bovino

Horizontally slice each half to give you three flat layers of bread from each.

Thinly-Sliced Slider Bread

Arthur Bovino

This is going to be more about highlighting the meatball and sauce than focusing on too much bread, and the bread you're going to have is going to be really tasty.

Oil, Garlic and Cheese Spread

Arthur Bovino

The garlic, cheese and oil mixture is going to be spread on the bread slices before they're toasted. 

Get Some Flavor on That Slider Bread

Arthur Bovino

Liberally apply to one side of each piece of bread. Wrap the bread in foil. Cook in the oven for about five minutes. Remove.

An Assembled Meatball Slider

Arthur Bovino

Portion bread for each slider, about three or four per bread segment. Put a healthy portion of sauce on the bottom piece of bread (about 2 tablespoons). Place the meatball on top. Dress with another tablespoon of sauce. Lean the other piece of bread against it. Garnish with the tomato skin. Eat. Wow that's good.