For the sauce:
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic, chopped (not too small; larger chunks, about 1/4 inch)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground sausage (preferably spicy pork)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 12 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Olive oil
- 33 slider-size potato buns, toasted
Make the sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the garlic and red pepper flakes in the oil 1 minute, stirring. (Do not brown the garlic.) Stir in the tomatoes and salt. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix the beef, sausage, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, ricotta and salt with your hands. Form 1 1/2-inch balls out of the meat mixture. Heat a large ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) with a bit of olive oil. Working in batches, addthe meatballs and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Return all the meatballs to the skillet and place in the oven to finish cooking, 10 minutes.
Toss the meatballs with 3 cups of the prepared sauce. Place on the toasted slider buns and sprinkle with parmesan and parsley.
Photograph by Jennifer Causey