for the meatballs:
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. parsley
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
for the sauce:
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes, liquid reserved
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- pinch each of salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- 2-3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top and spray with non-stick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs together, gently as to not overwork the meat. Form into 20-24 evenly sized meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared rack.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, turning meatballs over halfway through, or until meatballs are cooked through.
4. Pour the tomatoes into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
5. Melt butter in a medium skillet then add in onions, cooking for 1-2 minutes or until softened. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the tomato sauce, crushed red pepper flake, salt and pepper until blended. Add the tomatoes from the blender and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream or half-and-half and set aside.
6. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Transfer tomato sauce to a baking dish and nestle meatballs within the sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan on top and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with the chopped basil and serve.
I actually made the meatballs and sauce in advance and just added the cheese and baked according to the recipe after it had come up to room temperature. I froze half of the sauce and meatballs (prior to adding the cheese) as well. To cook those, thaw in the refrigerator and then add cheese and bake as directed.
Tom said these didn’t have a very strong “chicken parmesan” flavor but it was still a really good dish. I thought it tasted like chicken parm so I’m not sure what’s wrong with him. 🙂