The trick to making these meatballs tender is to actually use chicken breasts finely chopped rather than using ground chicken or turkey which makes them too dense. We like to serve these meatballs separately from the pasta as a second course, and prefer some type of short pasta such as penne or rigatoni to use the sauce on. The sauce is much healthier flavored with chicken rather than the traditional beef and pork, and can also be used to top any pasta, gnocchi, polenta, or used in lasagna.
Deborah Mele 2011
For The Sauce:
- 1 (28 oz) Can Imported Tomatoes (Chopped or Strained)
- 1/4 Cup Red or White Wine (Optional)
- 1 (6 oz) Can Tomato Paste
- 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onions
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
- 3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 2 - 3 Cups Water
For The Meatballs:
- 3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Slices Italian Bread Soaked In Milk
- 2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Salt And Pepper
- 1 Pound Dried Pasta Of Choice
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Or Pecorino Cheese
- To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan, then cook the onions until soft.
- Add the garlic, and cook until it is fragrant, and next add the wine and cook until it has almost evaporated.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 cups of water, wine (if using) and seasonings.
- Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Wrap the chicken breasts in plastic wrap to protect them, and place them in the freezer until they are slightly firm to the touch, but not frozen.
- Remove from the freezer, and using a sharp knife, cut the chicken into tiny pieces, smaller than little peas.
- In a bowl, place the chicken, egg, cheese, and seasonings.
- Squeeze some of the excess milk from the bread slices, and crumble this into the chicken mixture.
- Mix well with your hands until the bread is blended into the chicken well.
- The mixture will be quite moist at this time.
- Using wet hands, form the chicken into golf ball sized meatballs, and carefully drop them into the simmering sauce.
- Use up all of the chicken mixture in this fashion.
- Leave the pot partially covered, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Carefully stir the mixture, and then cook another 20 minutes.
- Serve over your pasta of choice cooked al dente with the meatballs served on the side.
- Sprinkle some grated cheese on the pasta if desired.