4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cloves of garlic, rough chopped (divided 4 and 2)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 large eggs, whisked
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 - 28 ounce can tomato puree
1 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon basil
Kosher salt and black pepper
Asiago cheese, shaved (figure 3 shaved strips per slider)
Slider buns or soft, small dinner rolls, sliced in half
Fresh basil leaves
in a large bowl, combine the ground beef, Italian sausage, red pepper flakes, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, Panko crumbs, grated Parmesan, eggs, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Form into meatballs about the size of golf balls.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides.
You will probably have to brown the meatballs in batches. Once browned, move the meatballs to a paper towel lined platter.
To make the sauce, heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the remaining chopped garlic and saute for another minute. Add in the tomato puree and once it begins to bubble, add in the wine, stir to thoroughly combine. Allow the sauce to gently simmer for 5 minutes then add the oregano, sugar, bay leaf, basil and salt and pepper to taste.
Carefully add in the browned meatballs, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Adjust seasonings if needed. I wound up adding in a little more garlic powder and some grated Parmesan cheese.
To assemble your slider, place two meatballs in a bowl and very slightly flatten then just a bit with the back of a large spoon. Place the meatballs on the bun bottom and ladle on some sauce. Top with a couple of slices of the shaved Asiago cheese and a basil leaf.
Let me tell you, the basil leaf really added a certain "sumthin'-sumthin'" to this slider.
Score! these sliders are definitely a touchdown!!!