Sunday morning I was taking inventory of our many cookbooks. Each week we try and pick out recipes for dinner and create the grocery list according to the ingredients. The past two weeks have been hectic at the house and I feel like we have eaten out more than in.
I was looking at all of our Giada DeLAurentiis cookbooks and realized I haven't made much from one of her newer cookbooks, Giada's Kitchen New Italian Favorites I flipped through the book and immediately found some recipes I liked as well as some recipes she recently prepared on her show. Last night we started with Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs. Be prepared, this could be "Giada Week" as we have two more meals from the book and a dessert. What's a week of delicious meals without dessert!
This was a fairly easy recipe to put together and it finished in one big pan. I love anything that has chicken meatballs because they are very mild and juicy. They always remind me of Italian Wedding Soup. The combination of ingredients were delicious with the three cheeses and fresh cherry tomatoes. I also liked the fact that it fed a family of six, no problem. My only suggestion for this recipe is to add some additional bread crumbs to the meatballs. They are very wet to work with. Even with the additional bread crumbs (maybe 1/4 cup more), the meatball mixture will still remain wet.
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta
- 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 3/4 cup grated Romano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock, hot
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 8 ounces bocconcini mozzarella, halved
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine.
Using a melon baller (or a teaspoon measure), form the chicken mixture into 3/4-inch pieces. With damp hands, roll the chicken pieces into mini meatballs.
In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the meatball mixture, mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of the basil. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with the chopped basil.