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Sandi in Hawaii

I loved this pasta recipe from Giada! REC: Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs

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Posted to Thread #16275 at 5:21 am on Sep 24, 2009

We loooved this! I made few changes:

-Ground chicken thighs in the food processor, instead of using pre-ground chicken.

-Didn't make my meatballs as small as she did, mine were probably the size of a rounded tablespoon

-Used spaghetti instead of orecchiette

-Didn't use the bocconcini mozza balls

-Didn't use the full amount of chicken broth, nor any of the pasta water.

I made the meatballs last night, and deglazed the pan with a little bit of chicken broth, and stored the cooked meatballs with the deglazing liquid in the fridge.

Tonite, when I came home, I boiled the pasta, reheated the meatballs with the rest of the chicken broth, then tossed it with the cooked spaghetti, along with the tomatoes and basil.

I wasn't able to make nice round meatballs - they were more like flat patties, but it went well with the spaghetti.

This dish had soo much flavor! It really surprised me, because the pasta is only sauced with chicken broth! It was important to deglaze the pan after frying the meatballs - I'm sure that added a lot of flavor too.


Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
4 to 6 servings (about 60 mini meatballs)

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.


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