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Orecchiette with Chicken Meatballs
(Serves 2 to 3)
Orecchiette with Chicken Meatballs
Orecchiette are disk-shaped pasta of about 2 cm (3/4-inch) in diameter and look like small domes with their centers thinner than the edges and a with one textured surface. In Southern Italy, women sit outdoors and shape the pasta dough into small cylinders, which they cut into little cubes. Then they press down each cube with their right thumb, dragging it on a board, making it curl slightly. Finally they insert their thumb on the reverse side, making it pop out with a little convex bulge.  You can substitute any similar size shaped pasta, such as farfalle, shells, or small penne, for the orecchiette in this recipe.
Ingredients:

Meatballs:
8 ounces ground chicken
1/4 cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

8 ounces orecchiette
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 to 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped


Directions:

To make the meatballs:
Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl.  Form the mixture into meatballs that are about 1-inch in diameter.  Keeping your hands wet will make it easier to roll the meatballs.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides.  Add the chicken broth and tomatoes to the skillet.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  The tomatoes should be soft and the meatballs tender.

In the meantime, cook the orecchiette for 2 minutes less than the recommended time.  Transfer the pasta (reserving the cooking water) to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat.  Stir in 1/4 cup of grated cheese and mozzarella cubes.  Season with salt and pepper.
If the mixture seems to dry, add a little of the pasta cooking water.  Transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl.  Sprinkle the chopped basil over the top and serve.
Orecchiette with Chicken Meatballs
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PASTA RECIPES  >  PASTA WITH MEAT OR POULTRY  >  ORECCHIETTE WITH CHICKEN MEATBALLS
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