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Gravy Meatball Sliders
By Joey Campanaro of The Little Owl, from New York Cooks, by Joan Krellenstein and Barbara Winkler

From the day The Little Owl opened, these sliders were a hit, garnering praise from The New York Times, New York magazine and other publications and blogs. Make them with the recipe here and find out for yourself what all the fuss is all about.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 large eggs
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped and divided
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups vegetable oil for frying meatballs
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
1 bunch fresh basil
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 #10 can (96 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
1 bunch arugula, well washed and dried

36 small garlic buns

Instructions:

Mix the ground meats with the cheese, the panko, 2 cups cold water, the eggs, three-fourths of the chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Form the mixture into 36 golf-ball-size meatballs. In a large, shallow saucepot or cast-iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil.

When hot, add the meatballs and cook until browned all over. With a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs and set aside.

Discard the vegetable oil but leave the browned bits of meat in the pan and heat the olive oil. Add the onion, the garlic, the basil, and fennel seed. Cook for 5-8 minutes until slightly brown. Add the can of tomatoes and half a can of water. Cook the sauce over medium heat for 30 minutes; pass the sauce through a food mill and return to the pan. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

To Serve:

Either buy or make 36 small garlic buns. Cut buns in half and toast, cut sides up, in oven. Top the meatballs with the remaining Pecorino and remaining parsley. Place a few arugula leaves on the bottom half of bun, place the meatball on top with a bit of sauce; add the top of bun, using a skewer or toothpick to hold it in place. Repeat until all buns are assembled; serve 3 per portion.

Yield: Serves 12 as an appetizer

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