I’ve had this recipe in my “to-make file” since last August, and every time that I went to make it, something came up or I found another recipe to try instead. Honestly, I just haven’t been cooking
that much lately…due to lack of time and motivation. Gotta work on that!
But these meatballs’ time has finally come. And I’m so glad it has. So light and flavorful…I’m thinking a meatball sandwich with melty, gooey provolone cheese is going to really hit the spot.
The thing that intrigued me most was that the meatballs were made from ground chicken breast and that they were served with a side of roasted red peppers…2 things to lighten up classic spaghetti and meatballs…no beef and no pasta (not that I think pasta is a bad thing!).
If you can’t find ground chicken (I got mine at Whole Foods and used breast meat only), I’m sure ground turkey would work just as well (maybe add a few tsp of olive oil though…turkey breast is even leaner than chicken breast).
Baked Chicken Meatballs
adapted from Gourmet magazine
makes 12 meatballs
3 slices Italian bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces (1 cup)…although I'm sure any bread will be fine
1/3 cup skim milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
2 teaspoons red wine (or water)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 4 minutes.
Cook pancetta (or bacon), onion, and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.
Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, pancetta mixture, bread, parsley, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in a 9 by 13 glass baking dish.
Stir together remaining tomato paste, remaining teaspoon oil, and red wine and brush over meatballs, then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
* If you want to make the roasted red peppers you can find the recipe here. I actually roasted them using the Cooks Illustrated method (shown here) in which you use no oil and peel the skin off after they have roasted…after they were roasted and peeled, I then sliced them and tossed with 1 teaspoon of oil and the remaining ingredients (vinegar, capers, and red pepper flakes).
Per meatball – 108 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 6 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 11 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 1 1/2 protein; WW points: 2)