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Miniature Meatball Panini


These mini meatball sandwiches can be prepared in advance; simply bake, cool, and freeze them in airtight plastic bags. To serve, thaw and reheat in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes. From the book "Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Wiley).

  • Yield: Makes 8 to 10 appetizer servings (56 pieces)

Source: Mad Hungry, December 2010


  • 1 loaf thin-sliced white bread, such as Pepperidge Farm
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground pork, or a combination of beef and pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. In a food processor or blender, process the ends of the loaf of bread to fine breadcrumbs, about 1/2 cup. Set the remaining bread aside.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, meat, egg, cheeses, parsley, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Mix with your hands to combine well.

  4. Roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls and reserve on a baking sheet. Lay 2 slices of bread on work surface. Butter one side of each piece. Place 4 meatballs on the buttered surface of the slice of bread. Top with a second slice of bread, buttered side down, and press firmly to adhere. Use a serrated knife to cut the crusts from the bread. Bake the crusts separately for a "chef's treat." Repeat with the remaining meatballs and bread. This process can be done assembly-line style, lining up slices of buttered bread and assembling a number at a time. Prepare 2 baking sheets at a time if possible.

  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat, if necessary, until all sandwiches are cooked. Remove from the pan and cool. Serve slightly warm.

Reviews Add a comment

  • ajon84
    5 FEB, 2013
    Made these again for Super Sunday. They were a hit as always. They do need to be cooked a little longer...about 24-25 minutes. Also, cut them into quarters before baking. They reheat well after freezing too! Love these!
  • suewille
    4 MAR, 2011
    recipe is incomplete. when do you cut into quarters? before or after baking
  • roxdesai
    6 FEB, 2011
    I also cut the crusts off before placing the meatballs on the bread- saves the meat and is much faster. It takes 25-30 mins to cook till the meat is no longer piink inside , even though I cut them into 1/4s and pressed them down. My family and friends enjoyed them .
  • roxdesai
    6 FEB, 2011
    I have made these twice -both times were good- i used the thin white andthe thin wheat bread the 2nd time,
  • maxinemariemitc
    9 JAN, 2011
    I made these on Christmas day as an appetizer. They were good, but one thing to know is that it takes a lot more than 12 minutes to cook. I used ground pork and after about 20 minutes, they were done. But, test to make sure. It's horrible to have uncooked pork in your mini sandwich!
  • tangliana
    22 DEC, 2010
    I made those today as lunch for my son; I will freeze most of them. Do you know if when I thawed it will be as crisp as it is when you get them from the oven? Thanks!
  • EmeraldHeart
    21 DEC, 2010
    I made these ahead for a holiday party, then thawed and reheated them. However, I thawed more than I reheated. Does anyone know if it's okay to refreeze them? Thanks
  • jewels61
    13 DEC, 2010
    Yes, on the show after she assembled the sandwiches, pressing VERY firmly to almost flatten the meatballs, she cut them into fourths before baking. Looks interesting! Oh, also important, the butter needs to be softened so that you can spread it on the insides of the bread. Lucinda's Mom said the butter is on the inside of the sandwich to help the meatballs adhere to the bread.
  • gab18481
    10 DEC, 2010
    These look really fun! I have the same comment as the last person (LJcooks) and am wondering if you cut them into fourths before or after baking them.
  • LJcooks
    10 DEC, 2010
    I can't wait to try these!! I know my family will love them. On your show you also cut them into 4th's, (which looked so cool!!!) The instructions above don't say to do that.