Italian Sausage Meatball Sliders

, from Issue #54. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Italian Sausage Meatball Sliders

With such fantastic sausages available these days, I always use them to make my meatballs instead of mince. I like the coarser-style sausages and use pork, beef or lamb depending on the recipe.


1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
⅓ cup milk
500 grams coarse Italian pork and fennel sausages
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 x 400 gram tin crushed Italian tomatoes
½ cup water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

To assemble
6 small long rolls or 12 slider rolls
200 grams bocconcini or mozzarella in whey, drained
handful of basil leaves


Meatballs: Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.

Remove the sausages from the skins and add to the breadcrumbs along with all the remaining ingredients. Season generously and combine everything together thoroughly. Form into 12 rough balls.

Heat a little olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the meatballs over a medium high heat until golden on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Don’t wash the pan.

Sauce: Add more oil (if needed) to the pan along with the onion and garlic. Season then cover and cook until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add a splash of water if required.

Stir in the tomato paste and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds then tip in the tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Nestle the meatballs into the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes to cook the meatballs fully. The sauce should be thick and reduced.

Heat the grill to its highest setting.

To assemble: Halve the rolls and toast the cut sides under the grill. Place the bases on a flat baking tray. Set the tops aside. Top with a spoonful of the tomato sauce then 2 meatballs. Add slices of mozzarella and place under the grill for about 1 minute or until the mozzarella is starting to soften. Top with a basil leaf and sandwich with the tops, securing with a toothpick if desired. Makes 6 sliders