I've made this dinner for a variety of guests ranging from the age of 1 to 81, and it's pleased even the pickiest of palates. Orecchiette with Chicken Meatballs is great for entertaining since it can be made ahead of time. All your left to do is boil the water and cook the pasta when you're ready to eat!
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, basil, or a combination of both
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 TBS milk
1 TBS ketchup
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups (2 pints) cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces pearlini (small mozzarella balls)
- In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley or basil, eggs, milk, ketchup, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add the ground chicken and mix together. Form the chicken into small meatballs.
- Use a large skillet, such as a Dutch oven, and heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken meatballs to the oil and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Do not drain the oil or brown bits from the bottom of the pan!
- Add the halved tomatoes to the hot oil and cook for approximately 2 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften. Add the the wine and cook for an additional 2 minutes, then pour in the chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a simmer and add the chicken meatballs back into the pan. Turn the heat down to low and cook about 20 minutes. (If you're making this ahead of time, turn the heat off the pan after 10 minutes. Turn the heat back on low when you begin to heat the pasta water.)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than the package directions. Add the cooked pasta to the meatball mixture and finish cooking in the broth.
- Sprinkle additional basil across the top and serve with the pearlini on the side along with extra freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.