I have had this recipe idea on the backburner for a while now & I have finally gotten to it. What a meal! The meatballs tasted like Italian sausage thanks to the fennel & I am crazy about fresh mozzarella, so this was pretty much heaven in one bite! I was actually surprised with how quick it was to put together. It’s like making spaghetti with just 15 extra minutes of prep/cook time. Basically a 30 minute meal! As long as you get all your ingredients together it flows so quickly. I will even share a few tips in the recipe for some time savers.
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Noodles
- 1 lb lean ground chicken or turkey
- 1/3 cup Progressive Italian Style Breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp onion, finely minced (I keep diced onion in the freezer for small quantities like this)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (I also keep a container of peeled garlic cloves in the freezer; I combined the frozen onion & garlic for this recipe & used my Pampered Chef Food Chopper to finely mince them together.)
- 1/3 cup spinach leaves, chiffonade
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 medium egg, whisked
- 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (24oz) jar marinara sauce
- 6-12 oz fresh mozzarella (depending on desired amount of cheese)
- 2 cups fusilli pasta (about 6.5-7oz noodles)
- Pre-heat oven to 400*F, setting rack to the upper third part of the oven.
- In a large bowl, gently mix together the ground chicken/turkey, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, spinach, parmesan, parsley, fennel, salt, pepper, & egg.
- Shape into 2 tablespoonful sized balls. I use a slightly heaping #50 cookie scoop. Place shaped balls a few inches apart from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been lightly greased with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of spaghetti sauce with 2½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Brush the tops of the meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile boil some water for your pasta. Cook according to directions on package. (My fusilli pasta takes about 9 minutes.)
- Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some extra sauce on top of each meatball & cover with a slice of fresh mozzarella. (I used a "pre-sliced" mozzarella, but it was kind of thick, so slice it thinner if you want it to be healthier.) Broil for another 2-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly & melted.
- Drain pasta once it is finished cooking. Add remaining sauce from jar & stir. Serve the pasta with a few meatballs on top. Enjoy!
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