tasty tuesday ~ orecchiette pasta w/ mini chicken meatballs

a fabulous family meal!
This week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs our challenge was all about Meatballs! Now I have made many a meatball in my lifetime so I really wanted to challenge myself with this one. I have made big meatballs, small meatballs, beef meatballs and pork meatballs. So I searched my Giada files and came across this recipe for mini chicken meatballs. Hmmmm...intrigue. Ground chicken can be really tricky. If cooked too long it can be really dry. If not cooked enough it could kill you. I know right...the drama of chicken!  
each forkful was spectacular!
As I was reading the recipe, I realized I had never made orecchiette pasta before either so I knew I had arrived at my challenge. After purchasing the pasta and some ground chicken, I set everything out and got to work. 

Now let me tell you mini meatballs are not the easiest thing in the world to make. These were no exception. A few of them came out a little too brown. I just kept telling myself "Brown food is good, brown food is good" and guess what?? Brown food IS good. These meatballs were fabulous. They were light and packed with flavor. The sauce filled with the burst tomatoes was really tasty. The pasta was a different texture than my guys are used to but they were the perfect size for a fabulous forkful. 

All in all, a lovely dish that I would make again. Next time though, I am adding some garlic. Giada without garlic is...well...wrong. Just sayin.

Celebrate the Feast!

This weeks recipe is being shared with I Heart Cooking ClubsBalancing Beauty and Bedlam , Full Plate @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Raising Homemakers , Delicious Dishes and City Wife Country Life , Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, The King's Court IV, Tuesdays at the Table, 33 Shades of Green as well as Frugality and Crunchiness w/ Christy! Head on over to their blogs and check out other fabulous recipes.

the chicken was light and moist...filled with flavor!
Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

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.
Mary L. on Foodista