Main Dish

Italian Meatball Sliders

Kelley & Young

119 S Cloverdale Blvd
Cloverdale, CA 95425

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2017
  • RECIPE BY: Madeline Kelley Stewart
  • YIELD: Serves 12
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Kelley & Young Wines

Quick, easy and delicious, these meatball sliders set the bar very high. The full flavor comes from mixing both beef and pork and the addition of cured pancetta. We've also added onions and garlic (of course) and a wide array of herbs to fill out the palate. What to drink with this juicy deliciousness? Zinfandel, of course!


  • 1/4 pound fresh white bread (gluten-free is desired), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces cured pancetta, finely minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon KYW herbs or Italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1 pound ground beef (at least 20% fat)
  • 1 pound ground pork (at least 25% fat)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the bread, buttermilk and stock and let stand until the bread is completely moist, about 10 minutes.

Add the onion, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, salt, black pepper, pancetta, eggs, red pepper flakes, herbs and fennel seeds to the bowl. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and gradually blend the ingredients together, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add about one-third of the ground beef and pork and beat on medium speed until thoroughly blended.  

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the remaining beef and pork. Using your hands (don't be a wuss), blend all the ingredients together.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. 

Form the meat mixture into about 36 meatballs (about ping-pong-ball size) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Broil until the meatballs are starting to brown on top, about 5 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side.

Slider Assembly

  • 8 cups marinara sauce (see note below)
  • 1/2 cup KYW Zinfandel
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 36 soft rolls, cut in half
  • 9 slices mozzarella cheese, cut into quarters
  • 9 slices provolone cheese, cut into quarters
In a large saucepan, combine the marinara sauce and wine and bring just to a simmer. Add the meatballs and heat until warmed through.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the olive oil and garlic. Slather the cut sides of the rolls with the mixture. If you have a griddle, toast the rolls on the flat top; alternatively, toast them in the oven under the broiler.

To assemble, place a meatball on the bottom half of each roll, cover with a little sauce, and top with a piece of mozzarella and provolone. Cover with the top halves of the rolls.  

Serve with a glass of Kelley & Young Zinfandel - YUM!!!

NOTE: For the marinara sauce, we love to use a mix of Emeril Lagasse's Vodka Sauce and Tomato-Basil Sauce. We add about 1/2 cup of our Zinfandel to make it just right.

Kelley & Young

119 S Cloverdale Blvd
Cloverdale, CA 95425