How to make Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs
- 1 pound of orecchiette
- 1 pound of ground chicken
- 1 1.2 cup of hot low sodium chicken stock
- 2 large eggs, beat them
- 8 ounces of bocconcini Mozarela cheese, halve it
- ½ cup of grated Parmesan, grate it fresh
- 1 tablespoon of whole milk
- ¾ cup of grated Romano
- 4 cups of cherry tomatoes, halve them
- ¼ cup of breadcrumbs
- ½ cup of freshly chopped basil leaves
- ¾ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of ketchup
- ¼ cup of freshly chopped flat-leaves parsley
- ½ cup of fresh basil leaves
1Use a large pot and bring salted water to boil in it. Add the orecchiette and cook until al dente. Stir occasionally. It should take around 8 to 10 minutes.
2For being more precise, it is better to taste the pasta. Your orecchiette needs to be al dente, like the rests of pasta. It should be tender on the outer side and a little bit raw on the inside. You should feel it firm when you bite it but it is not too soft either. You can basically break it to half and see the cross. If you can rip it, it is too soft already.
3If you buy packed pasta, the directions should tell you the needed time to cook it but it is often inaccurate. Use a medium bowl, and add Romano cheese, ketchup, milk, eggs, parsley, and breadcrumbs, and stir them together. Add the chicken and stir them to combine. Stir gently.
4Take a teaspoon measure or melon baller, and form the chicken mixture into ¾ inch pieces. Roll them into small meatballs using damp hands. Take a large skillet, and heat the olive oil using medium-high heat.
5Add the small meatballs and cook without moving them until the bottom part gets brown. It should take around 2 minutes. Turn to the others side and cook until it gets brown too. It should take the same duration.
6Add the tomatoes and chicken stock on the meatballs and cook them to boil. Take a wooden spoon and scrape the brown bits that cling on the skillet bottom up.
7Reduce the heat to low and keep simmering until the meatballs are cooked well and the tomatoes are soft. The meatballs are well cooked when it loses the redness and it feels though when you press it using the wooden spoon.
8Drain the orecchiette and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Put the orecchiette in a large serving bowl and spread the parmesan evenly. Toss it gently to cover the entire pasta. Use the reserved cooking water to loosen the pasta a little if you need to.
9Add the meatballs mixture to the orechiette and toss in the ½ cup of basil and mozzarella cheese. Gently toss everything together and garnish Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs with chopped basil on top.
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