We’ve found some good ones over the years, such as the only ones you should ever serve with your spaghetti and mashed potato. Which, if you have not already, you should not wait until next summer to try. Not to mention you can also sneak into sliders and soup. But as we hadn’t tried these before, my meatball recipe collection — and possibly even our life — was woefully deficient.
The first time we made these meatballs, we made them again the following night for dinner. They were so good and we couldn’t wait long to eat them again. An entire meal is baked in one pan and is ready in less than 30 minutes.
Now we’re going maintain this space as a complaint-free zone. So we won’t tell you how long it took me to tackle this recipe. Or how many times we bought the ingredients and they went bad before we could even find a window of nap time to make them. How even when we made them, we bored so many steps we had to do it again. It’s hard to step around the whining trap door sometimes, but I will because it’s not the point, which is that these are crazy good. They’re kicking your heels up good.
The trick to making these meatballs tender is to actually use chicken breasts finely chopped rather than using ground chicken or turkey which makes them too dense. We like to serve these meatballs separately from the pasta as a second course and prefer some type of short pasta such as penne or rigatoni to use the sauce on. The sauce is much healthier flavored with chicken rather than the traditional beef and pork, and can also be used to top any pasta, gnocchi, polenta, or used in lasagna.
This mashed potatoes recipe has just 4 simple ingredients (one of which is salt), but there are several secrets that make this recipe work so well:
1. Russet potatoes must be cooked whole. I learned this awesome tip from my Mom: russets are starchy potatoes which can fall apart or become water filled when boiled so it takes a few minutes longer to cook them but it’s well worth it!
2. Butter!! Lots of butter and don’t skimp here. I’ve tried with less and the recipe still works but it’s incredible with the amount called for.
3. Butter must be softened, not melted. The flavor of the butter is different when it’s softened and it incorporates into the potatoes beautifully leaving them silky, silky.
4. HOT milk incorporates easiest into the potatoes and keeps the potatoes warm.
5. Using a mixer whips up the potatoes without the effort of mashing by hand and produces the smoothest results.
6. Salting the potatoes at the end keeps them from falling apart while cooking.
- olive oil, for cooking
- 2 onions, diced
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) chicken
- 40 g (1½ oz/½ cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra, to serve
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) dry breadcrumbs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) chicken stock
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) tomato puree
- mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4)
Heat a small frying pan over medium–high heat. Add a splash of oil and half of the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes.
Tip the mixture into a bowl and add the chicken, parmesan, nutmeg, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix together well, then roll into small meatballs. Pan-fry the meatballs in the same frying pan in a little oil for 5–6 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a deep baking dish.
Add the remaining diced onion, with a little oil, to the frying pan and cook until soft. Add the garlic, stock and tomato purée and bring to a simmer. Pour the tomato mixture and mozzarella cheese over the meatballs, cover the baking dish with foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Add a good pinch of salt. Serve with the mashed potato.