These Italian Meatball Tartlets are the perfect gameday appetizer!
This post may contain paid links. For more information, please see our disclosure policy.
Happy Friday everyone! We’re down to just over a week until the big game. Check that. We’re down to just over a week until the big commercials and halftime show! Yes, that’s better. Truth be told, I’ll be watching the game and the commercials and the halftime show. And for the record, that leaves very little time to get up and restock your appetizer plate. Or get another beverage. Or let the dogs outside. But I digress.
Are you a die-hard, live-for-football kinda person? If not, it’s totally fine. But you still have to be able to talk about football when you find yourself standing around with friends and neighbors watching the game next Sunday. So here are a couple of fun facts that you can drop into the conversation.
- The average football game lasts for 3 hours, but the ball is only in play for about 11 minutes. So where does that extra time go? Replays. Replays and commercials. Replays and commercials and shots of players in the huddle or standing on the sidelines. Think about it. It’s true!
- This coming weekend is actually the 2nd biggest grilling weekend of the year…behind only 4th of July. I personally find this one a little hard to believe as our grill is usually covered by ice and snow in early February. I
likelove grilled food as much as the next guy, but I’m not putting on my snow boots to get the grill out!
- The average gameday party has 17 guests. 17! Better have a double batch of Italian Meatball Tartlets on hand. Wait…what? Meatball tartlets? Yup, that’s right. Meatball tartlets. Bring an Italian flare to this year’s party with these Italian Meatball Tartlets!
Laura walked in the door from work a couple of days ago, took one look at the tray of Italian Meatball Tartlets on the countertop and said, “Oh, hello, dinner!” (Unfortunately for her, that tray went with me to the curling club that night…where a couple of the guys quickly repeated, “Oh, hello, dinner!”) Laura might have snagged one of these Italian Meatball Tartlets for herself, though…which Robbie then proceeded to eat.
Laura has already asked me to make another batch of these tartlets for our party next weekend. (And unlike the average party, ours will consist of 4 people this year. Us and the neighbors. 5 if you count Robbie…although he’ll be asleep by the end of the 1st quarter.)
Italian sausage is a staple around our house, and we always keep a couple packs of Johnsonville’s Italian Ground Sausage on hand. The folks at Johnsonville know their Italian sausage, and the flavors and spices mixed into the sausage are always perfect! A couple of years ago, my mother-in-law taught me how to make one heck of a tasty Italian meatball. Those meatballs are good. Like really good. So I decided they needed to be on the menu for this year’s gameday.
Since gameday appetizers need to be handheld, I nestled those meatballs into flaky pieces of puff pastry. A spoonful of marinara sauce and a bit of mozzarella cheese finished these bad boys off. Gameday appetizer deliciousness right there!
Speaking of gameday appetizers, Johnsonville has been on a quest to add to their official book of Game Day Recipes. This year, they launched an online reality cooking show competition called The Sausage Dome. Finalists, including a 13-year-old-chef and an Italian grandma named Nonna Gina, pitched their ideas to 6 Johnsonville employees. And the winning recipe? Spicy Touchdown Sausage Stuffed Bites. Click here to check out the Bites along with other official Johnsonville Game Day Recipes!
No matter what team you’re pulling for, I hope your game day party is epic this year. And if these Italian Meatball Tartlets are involved, then I can promise you’ll at least have delicious appetizers for those 11 minutes of football! Cheers!
Italian Meatball Tartlets
For the Meatballs
- ⅔ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 pound Johnsonville Italian Ground Sausage I used mild, but sweet or hot would also work
- 1 cup white onion finely diced
- 1 large egg beaten
- 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley chopped
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
For the Meatballs
- In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk. Let soak for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients (ground sausage, onion, egg, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper and Parmesan). Mix until well combined. Shape the mixture into 24 meatballs. (Tip: Take care not to overmix or the meatballs may be tough.)
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook just until browned on all sides; remove meatballs from skillet. Place meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until fully cooked.
For the Tartlets
- Meanwhile, roll the puff pastry into a 10”x15” rectangle. Cut into 24 (2.5”) squares. Press one square into cups of a mini-muffin pan.
- Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, or until pastries turn light golden brown.
- Remove tartlets from oven and add a cooked meatball in each. Top with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Return tartlets to oven and bake for 4-5 more minutes, or until cheese has melted.
- Garnish with additional chopped parsley before serving.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnsonville. The opinions and text are all mine.