Orecchiette with Baked Mini Chicken Meatballs

I love easy dinners, especially ones involving pasta! I found this recipe from Little Broken and it was perfect. It’s pretty easy to make and the chicken meatballs turn out really moist and delicious.

I did end up modifying it a little bit. I doubled everything except for the amount of pasta, which resulted in a solid 4-5 servings. I think if I would’ve stuck to the original, it would’ve been a good dish for 2 people, but then I would have ingredient leftovers. By doubling it, I was able to use everything I bought from the store.

Also, since the meatball mix was very moist, I used ice cream scoop to form my meatballs, but they didn’t hold their shape well and ended up with flat bottoms. I broiled them for 6-7 minutes because they didn’t seem remotely cooked at the 3-4 minute mark, like the recipe advises.

I’ve pasted the recipe below the way I made it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp grated onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley (fresh is better but I used dried)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box orecchiette pasta
  • 1/4 – 1/2 reserved pasta water
  • 1 jar of tomato basil pasta sauce (I used Barilla)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini mozzarella balls/pearls (or you can dice fresh mozzarella)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the panko and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, until all the milk is absorbed.
  2. Add ground chicken, eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, sour cream, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well. (The mixture will be pretty wet)
  3. Set your oven’s broiler to HIGH.
  4. Lightly coat your baking sheets with cooking spray or oil.
  5. Place meatballs on the baking sheets (about 1 1/4 inch sized balls) in a single layer.
  6. Broil on HIGH for 6-7 minutes, or until meatballs are halfway cooked but still pink on the inside.
  7. Remove meatballs from the oven and let stand at room temperature while you start the rest of the recipe.
  8. Cook pasta according to package directions. Save about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water before you drain.
  9. In a large saute pan, heat up the tomato basil pasta sauce.
  10. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
  11. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer on low for about 5-10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  12. Add cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water.
  13. Stir to combine.
  14. Add the mozzarella balls and gently stir to combine.
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