Spaghetti with Sopressata Sauce and Chicken Meatballs

for the meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 egg

for the sauce:
1 onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 oz finely chopped thin cut sopressata
30 oz canned diced tomatoes
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon minced oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil

to serve:
1 lb spaghetti, cooked to package instructions

Start the sauce first. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the sopressata, shallot, onion and garlic. Saute until the onions are softened. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally.

In a medium sized bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients. With a gentle hand, combine all ingredients and form into 1 to 2 inch meatballs. Place on a (oiled or nonstick) broiler pan and broil for about 5 minutes or until just starting to brown. Add to the sauce. Continue to cook until the meatballs are fully cooked and most of the liquid has been cooked out of the sauce. Serve over hot spaghetti.

My thoughts:

My husband has a tendency to go a little crazy at our local Italian shop. For some reason, every time he picks up ingredients for panini, he overbuys the sopressata. It is a pretty strongly flavored sausage so you only need a couple of slices on a sandwich so we always end up with lots leftover. Sopressata is generally served in sandwiches or on crackers but we had so much of it, I didn’t see any reason not to use in a pasta sauce. I hate to waste food and couldn’t really see the point in buying new Italian meats to accompany it on still more sandwiches when I had some good Italian canned tomatoes and pasta in the cabinet. I noticed I had a pound of ground chicken in the fridge that was nearing the expiry date so the idea of a sopressata-tomato sauce with meatballs was born. I really liked how it came out; the sauce was rich and spicy. Chicken meatballs, while generally tasty, aren’t always the most exciting thing in the world but when mixed with this sauce they really come alive. Using chicken also kept the dish from being overwhelmingly heavy despite the bits of sausage in the sauce. Beef would have been pushing it over the edge I think.

The leftovers were exceptional, both the pasta and the meatballs absorb some of the sauce and the whole thing reheats really well. I let it sit out about 15 minutes before reheating so the meatballs weren’t quite so cold going in. Is there anything worse than mushy pasta and meatballs that are still cold inside?


  1. Italian comfort food is the best!

  2. Both the sauce and the meatballs sound really good!

  3. we love chicken meatballs, YUM!

  4. I made this last night & got 8 thumbs up (2 were my own!)…didn't have shallots, but put an extra clove of garlic in both for good measure. The girls didn't even ask, "Is it Nonna's sauce?" Thanks for this one!

  5. My boyfriend and I made this last night – it was delicious!