I withheld information. Not intentionally mind you. Last week I posted a soup recipe that had mini chicken meatballs with orzo. I actually made double the amount of meatballs to use here. I suppose I could have shared this then, but what’s done is done. The link to the meatballs is attached to the required amount in the ingredient list. Having the meatballs cooked and ready to use allowed a fairly quick preparation of this dinner. I’m a big fan of orecchiette [translated to little ears, which they do resemble]. I love the way these “little ears” cradle the mini meatballs; it’s the perfect bite! From start to eat making this dish only took about 30 minutes of my time, and that included making a tasty tomato sauce! Not bad.
The recipe that follows was the perfect amount for three people. We finished it off except for a few lonely orecchiette…though Glenn may have taken the last 3 meatballs simply to eliminate leftovers!
4 dozen [approximate] mini chicken meatballs
8 ounces orecchiette pasta
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken stock
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped [or fresh/frozen basil]
salt & pepper, to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided use
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
•Heat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
•When the water comes to a boil add the pasta. Cook according to package directions minus 1-2 minutes to allow a firmer pasta [it will finish cooking in the oven]. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
•Add the minced garlic to the hot oil in the skillet. Stir and allow to cook just until fragrant. Add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add the seasoning [salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes] and pre-browned meatballs; allow to simmer until sauce reduces by half; about 10 minutes.
•Transfer the cooked pasta to a baking dish; toss the pasta with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Add reserved pasta water 1 Tablespoon at a time as needed to loosen the pasta.
•Add the tomato/meatball sauce. Stir to incorporate. Add the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan; mix well. Add the cubed mozzarella; once again stirring to blend well.
•Place baking dish is preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes or until heated through and cheeses are melted. Garnish with additional Parmesan and chopped basil if desired.