Sometimes only a large bowl of pasta and meatballs will do.
As a family, we love a meatball supper. Meatballs feature at least once a week for us, so finding a new and exciting recipe for the aforementioned balls, is cooking gold. I will be honest with you, I didn’t really feel like cooking today after what I can only describe as eventful teenage birthday party. Having spent a good deal of the morning restoring our house to normality the last thing I felt like doing was cooking, let alone eating. However, the show must go on, and besides, we had a houseful of boys who needed carbs so crack on I did. Once these Italian Chicken Meatballs hit the oven, I felt inspired, because a) they smell divine, all herbs and parmesan b) they were simple to make and c) I had had 3 cups of coffee and Marmite toast so the world was a better place.
I love mincing chicken, is that wrong? I find it quite satisfying and minced chicken makes for a super *eek* moist dish. These Italian Chicken Meatballs are best if you mince boned chicken thighs rather than breast, but if you only have the latter, don’t panic. They are simply mixed with some breadcrumbs, herbs, parmesan and other bits and bobs to create a soft, flavoursome ball. These are then finished off in a tomato sauce laced with stringy mozzarella and served on a huge pile of spaghetti. This is just perfect winter fodder and it feeds a hungry crowd generously, or a hungover crowd, delete as appropriate. On a side note, you can slow cook these if you like. I would have done, but my slow cooker was otherwise engaged *see my pudding post later this week* and I did not have time on my hands after the major party clear up. As always, a gigantic thank you to the Kitchn for the inspiration.
Sometimes only a huge bowl of meatballs and spaghetti will do. Today was one of those days, and these Italian Chicken Meatballs were quite the salvation we needed. Along with the coffee and the large glass of wine.
This post will feature on Lucy Loves later this week.
Italian Chicken Meatballs Recipe
Serves a good 4 to 6 hungry diners
You will need a food processor, deep sided pan and baking sheets or a slow cooker, if you like
- 75g breadcrumbs, panko if you have them
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 garlic cloves or a heaped teaspoon garlic from a jar
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or basil
- 80g parmesan, grated
- 1 small onion or half a larger one, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 kg boned chicken thighs or breast, thighs are best
- 1000ml passata or your favourite tomato pasta sauce, I used 1 and a half 680g jars of passata
- 1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning, optional if you are using passata rather than pasta sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar, optional if you are using passata rather than pasta sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 2 balls mozzarella or around 250g, finely chopped or grated
- More freshly chopped parsley or basil to garnish and pasta to serve
Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees fan assisted and line two baking sheets.
Take a large bowl and add the 2 eggs and beat with a fork. Measure in the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well. Using a food processor, chop your onion then add the chicken thighs or breast and process until just minced.
Add the onion and chicken to the breadcrumb mixture and mix lightly but thoroughly.
Wet your hands and roll the mixture into balls, around 2 tablespoons per ball, and place onto the lined baking trays. I had around 28 balls. Pop these into the oven and cook for around 20 to 25 minutes or until just golden.
While these are browning, place your tomato sauce into a large high sided pan. If you are using passata stir in the oregano and sugar then bring up to the simmer. If you are using a pre made pasta sauce you won’t need these additions. Once your chicken meatballs are browned remove them from the oven and allow to cool for a minute or two.
Drop them into your simmering sauce, stir, then pop a lid on for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add the chopped or grated mozzarella, stir again. Serve piping hot, on a pile of spaghetti, garnished with some chopped parsley or basil.
If you would rather cook these in the slow cooker, simply shape the meatballs then place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour on the tomato sauce of your choice, adding the herbs and sugar, if needed, stir then put the lid on and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. When the balls are firm and cooked through, remove the lid, stir in the mozzarella then put the lid back on for a further 15 minutes. Serve, as above.