1 lb ground chicken breast
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons mixed Italian dried herbs (I used this)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
6 mozzarella pearls, halved
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1-quart marinara sauce
1 lb cooked, hot spaghetti
grated Parmesan for sprinkling
Place the breadcrumb coating mixture in a shallow bowl and whisk to combine.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, egg, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and spices until well combined. Remove about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of the mixture. Place half a pearl in the middle, roll into a small ball, taking carefully cover the mozzarella. Roll in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat for remaining chicken mixture to form approximately 12 meatballs.
Meanwhile, heat the sauce in a saucepan.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and carefully brown the meatballs on all sides–about 5-8 minutes. They should be nearly fully cooked if not actually cooked through. Add to the pan with the sauce and simmer until fully cooked. Serve over hot pasta.
I was thinking about making Chicken Parmesan the other day but it is quite an undertaking: frying chicken, making sauce–none of that is difficult but it is time-consuming, especially since there is a limit to how many chicken filets you can fry at a time and I always end up having to do at least two batches. I’ve been making a lot of meatballs lately for some reason and it occurred to me that I could totally reimagine the dish as meatballs!
It comes together a bit faster, making mozzarella-filled meatballs isn’t any more difficult or time-consuming than regular meatballs and you can brown a full dozen at once in a large pan.
I have never done this before but I cheated and used a quart of freshly made marinara sauce I bought at our local Italian grocery instead of making my own sauce and that made making meatballs on a weekday night way less daunting. Feel free to make your own sauce if you’d rather!
I loved the results, it really had the spirit and flavor of Chicken Parmesan but in a more fun (and easier to eat!) way. It was also much lighter than the original. The melty mozzarella in the middle of the meatballs really made the dish, it was unexpected and went a long way to making it feel like Chicken Parm versus just chicken meatballs.