Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mini Pasta with Mini Chicken Meatballs

You don't have to live with a kid to want to eat kid-inspired food once in a while. And you can always add a slightly grown-up twist to it, just to make it feel slightly less kid-ish. This recipe is from Giada's latest book, and she intended for it to appeal to kids. I added a vital ingredient to make it a bit more interesting for adults - spiciness. As well as a few other tweaks.

The meal is just fun - mini pasta with mini meatballs, not to mention the mini mozzarella balls and the mini tomatoes. Before it gets too cute, I'd better give you the recipe. But first, let me just say that these meatballs are fabulous. They could definitely be featured in other venues, too - like on the ends of toothpicks as appetizers, or in a sandwich. Yum.

Mini Pasta with Mini Chicken Meatballs
adapted from Giada's Kitchen
serves 3


1/3 pound small pasta, such as farfalline or orecchiette
3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs (or plain bread crumbs)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon skim or low-fat milk
1/2 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, divided
salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound ground chicken breast
2 tablespoons EVOO
1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
a dozen or so cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 oz. bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves


1. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain.

2. While water is coming to a boil, in a large bowl stir together bread crumbs, parsley, egg, milk, ketchup, 1/4 cup parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken and combine well.

3. Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Using a melon baller or cookie scoop, scoop up approximately teaspoon sized balls of the mixture to make the meatballs. Plop them into the heated skillet, making sure not to overcrowd the pan (work in batches if necessary). Do not move them for about 2 minutes so that they get brown; then turn them over to brown the other side for another 2 minutes.

4. Add chicken broth and tomatoes to the skillet and bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Stir in red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.

5. After pasta is drained and while the sauce is simmering, put the pasta in a serving bowl and toss with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan, basil, and mozzarella. Add the meatball and tomato mixture and toss to combine. If there is more liquid than you would like, feel free to discard some of it. Serve hot.

The mozzarella will be gooey and melty, the meatballs will be browned and flavorful, and the sauce will be slightly spicy. A wonderful grown-up version of a kid's meal! Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Wish I had been at your house last night ....... mmmmmmmmm!