Skip the pasta and try Italian meatball sliders instead. Best of all, you can make the meatballs ahead and freeze them for a quick meal on busy nights.
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 shallots, finely diced
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), toasted
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 ounces lean ground pork
2 (4-ounce) links turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
12 slider buns, toasted
12 basil leaves
How to Make It
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add garlic and shallots to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until shallots are softened, stirring frequently. Combine shallot mixture, ricotta, and next 8 ingredients (through egg) in a medium bowl. Shape mixture into 12 (1-inch) meatballs; flatten each meatball slightly.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add meatballs to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning once. Add marinara sauce; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until meatballs are done. Top bottom half of each bun with 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce, 1 meatball, 1 basil leaf, and top half of bun.
OMG, these were fantastic! I followed the recipe exactly, except that I used onion instead of shallots because I didn't have any. The sliders were moist and flavorful, and a touch spicy. Next time I have these I'm going to put a little more sauce on the bottom of the buns.
I served with the Spinach and Mozzarella salad, which was also very good...I subbed tomatoes for the red peppers.
Fabulous meal, which I'll definitely make again.
The family LOVED these. I got the sausage at New Seasons and they only had chicken sausage. I got one regular and one hot so left out the crushed red pepper when making the meatballs. We had to put a sprinkle of parmesan on top before serving. Will definitely have these often.
Definitely a repeat. I made my own turkey sausage to control salt and spice to make it toddler friendly. Other than that, I followed the recipe. Good flavor, not too difficult and freezer friendly all make it a repeat. I made a few without the ricotta for the baby (who loved them) and they were also good without the dairy, so they can be friendly to those with dairy sensitivity.