Italian and American cuisine make a delicious, delightfully messy pair with these hearty sliders, sure to be a hit any night of the week (and then again on the weekend). Mini brioche buns are piled high with a classic beef Bolognese and a creamy blend of ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, then served with a bright arugula salad dressed in a sweet-tart balsamic vinaigrette.
Using a slotted spoon to remove the browned beef from the pan keeps any excess moisture or fat out of your Bolognese, ensuring a thick and meaty sauce that isn’t watery.
1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
3 ounces baby arugula
3 ounces ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
12 ounces ground beef
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
⅛ teaspoon dried basil
⅛ teaspoon ground fennel seed
⅛ teaspoon dried oregano
⅛ teaspoon dried rosemary
⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup tomato purée
6 brioche slider buns
10″ medium pan
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice. Mince garlic. Rinse arugula. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta and Parmesan cheeses to combine. Taste and season with pepper as desired, then set aside until ready to serve.
Pat beef dry with paper towel. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add beef and cook, breaking up, until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl and set aside (see Recipe Tip).
Wipe pan from beef clean, return to medium heat, and add butter. When butter is foamy, add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add spice mix and garlic to pan and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste to fully coat, 1-2 minutes more.
While aromatics cook, in a large bowl (big enough for the salad), whisk together balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil to combine. Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Set aside until ready to serve.
Return beef to pan with aromatics and add tomato purée. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thickened, 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange buns cut-side up on baking sheet (if they arrived whole, simply slice them open!). Toast in oven until golden and warmed through, 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
Season Bolognese sauce with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Layer bun bottoms with Bolognese, then spread ricotta mixture on bun tops and close sliders. Add arugula to bowl with vinaigrette, toss to coat, and divide between plates with sliders. Dig in!