Meatballs are beautiful things. I don’t know why I go so long before I make them. I love them. Portable, stuffable…like stuff them in your mouth stuffable. You could make a meatloaf with the exact same ingredients but it won’t taste as good as a meatball…why is that? Life is full of food mysteries my friends….
I baked the meatballs in the oven, opposed to browning them on the stovetop, because, well, I am a lazy cook. I love good food but the easier the better for me. The sauce is super easy too. A large can of crushed tomatoes, a spot of cream…a clove or two of garlic and you have a really fresh tasting sauce.
Bake it all together with a bit of fresh mozz and it’s out of this world! We had this for dinner for three days. We are empty nesters and food lasts a really long time around here. You could easily serve this over pasta or zoodles (not a fan of zoodles, I have yet to figure out how to keep them from being watery), or spaghetti squash (again, not a fan…just want a noodle). We just ate them as is. Meatballs, sauce and a salad…it was perfect the first, second and third time!
NOTE: Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats. Well actually it is her recipe…I only changed the cooking method and a few ingredients based on availability. Thank you Annie, this will be in my favorite dinner file for years to come!
- 1½ pounds ground chicken
- 1 egg
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ⅓ cup onion, minced
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup panko crumbs
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ⅓ cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- pinch of chili flakes
- ⅓ cup cream
- salt and pepper and pepper to taste
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Line a large sheet pan with foil for easy clean up.
- In mixing bowl, combine all meatball ingredients together. Careful not to over mix as it make the chicken tough.
- Shape in 1½ inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes - Don't worry if slightly undercooked they will finish off in the sauce.
- While meatballs are cooking.
- Melt butter in large oven proof skillet. (if you don't have one, use a regular skillet and transfer to baking dish when sauce is done).
- Cook onion until translucent. About 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, cook for one minute until fragrant and slightly soft.
- Add crushed tomatoes, chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in cream.
- Add cooked meatballs to sauce. Top with mozzarella.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until all bubbly and cheese has melted.