The meatballs go with a roasted red pepper salsa-like sauce called peperonata. As a disclaimer, I will let you know that I roasted my own peppers and peeling them was a hassle. But I was also trying to follow two recipes at once, and didn’t exactly follow the directions for blackening the peppers and slow roasted them instead….I suspect that by blackening them, the peeling process would become much easier. Your call.
The meatballs themselves were really great – flavorful and not too heavy. You will want to make these again, immediately. In fact, I liked them so much that I ate a leftover one on toasted italian bread with a smear of goat cheese for lunch the next day, and then finished them off for dinner that night with the leftover pasta. Incidentally, I served the meatballs with pasta with a red pepper and goat cheese sauce, which was fine, but overall unremarkable, especially compared to the meatballs’ glory.
MAKE THEM NOW!
1 lb ground chicken
about 3 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c. torn up bread – i used a bolillo roll
1/3 c. milk – i used original-flavor almond milk and it was fine
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 large egg
2 tbsp tomato paste, divided
1. preheat the oven to 400 degrees. heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
2. pour the milk over the bread in a small bowl and toss to make sure all the bread gets contact with the milk. let it soak 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are done.
3. add 2 tbsp olive oil to the skillet. when the oil shimmers, add the onion and garlic, and the salt and pepper. saute until the onion softens, about 3-4 minutes. try not to let it brown too much – if it starts to, turn down the heat. when the onions are soft, remove from heat.
4. squeeze the bread to remove excess milk, and discard milk.
5. in a large bowl, beat the egg. add the bread, ground chicken, onion and garlic mixture, parsley, and 1 tbsp tomato paste, and plunge your hands into the chickeny mixture.
6. form 12 meatballs out of the mixture. in a small bowl, mix the remaining tomato paste and remaining tbsp olive oil with a fork. brush the mixture over the tops of the meatballs.
7. bake 15-20 minutes at 400, until just cooked through. mine were done right at 15, so check them then.
8. top with peperonata if you like – i really liked how the tangy peperonata cut the richness of the meatballs.
Note on peperonata: Deb at Smitten Kitchen recommended that you roast the peppers whole, then remove the skin before cutting them up. Here are some instructions for roasting and peeling red peppers – let me know if it goes better than my attempt!