I’m staring at a blank page here trying to form the words to aptly convey the monumental deliciousness of these little sliders and words fail me. Not good timing. But you must trust me on this one, people… these are simply dang good.
I’m not sure I remember how the inspiration for these came to me. But I remember sitting on the plane last weekend as we were returning from New York and thumbing through one of my food magazines that was doing a feature spread on hamburgers; like a million different ways to grill and assemble a burger. And I know that I had previously been dreaming about this amazing eggplant pizza we had in a little place near battery park, and I think those two thoughts sort of collided mid-brain and spontaneously gave birth in my mind to a pizza slider. Or maybe it was the altitude. But what emerged from that moment became a homemade slider bun made from pizza dough, an Italian sausage pattie, studded with chopped pepperoni and draped with melting fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce and fresh basil. Three days later we were biting into the most heavenly little slider burger imaginable.
I’m going to begrudgingly say that you could use any slider bun and these would still be really good, but oh, those pizza dough buns just knocked our socks off. I’m going to give you my pizza dough recipe, or just use your favorite, or get your hands on some pizza dough from Trader Joe’s or the nearest pizzeria or Italian market or wherever you can, but really, pizza dough buns totally rock.
And I haven’t even begun to speak of the possibilities here… for a vegetarian version, you could substitute the sausage for a grilled portobello mushroom (cut to size), or how about a goat cheese/caramelized onion/arugula one, or just use whatever makes your pizza boat float. But do make some pizza sliders.
If you can only find Italian sausage in link form, just slice through the casing and squeeze the sausage into a bowl before mixing with the pepperoni. You can, of course, use any slider bun for these, but the pizza dough makes these really special.
12 pizza dough buns (see recipe below)
Marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1 ½ lbs spicy Italian sausage
Several slices pepperoni, chopped
Mozzarella cheese (fresh mozzarella or grated)
12 leaves of fresh basil
Mix the chopped pepperoni and Italian sausage together. Form into patties about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Cook the sausages on a large griddle or skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray for about 6 minutes. Turn the sausages and then top with the mozzarella cheese, covering with a lid to help melt the cheese. Alternately, after they are cooked, you can place them in the microwave for a few seconds to melt the cheese.
While the patties are cooking, slice the buns in half and spread some of the marinara sauce on each half. Place the sausage pattie on the bottom half, top with a basil leaf and then the top half of the bun. Serve immediately.
Pizza Dough Slider Buns
1 lb of pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray
Slice the dough into small-ish pieces and form into balls about 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Roll the balls in olive oil to completely coat and then place in the muffin tins, cover with a towel and let them rise for about ½ hour.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown and puffy. Remove from the pan and let cool before slicing.
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