HERBY CHICKEN MEATBALLS WITH SPAGHETTI

Prep: 20 minutes     Cook: 45 minutes    
Serves: 4 - 6

Simmer juicy chicken meatballs in a rich, creamy tomato sauce, pile them on hot spaghetti and watch the family dig in! The fresh chives in this recipe give a mild, oniony bite to the meatballs, but you can leave them out if the kids don’t like them.

Ingredients

  • 600 g chicken mince (see Papa Grandés Tips, below)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup (250 ml) fresh brown bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) plain yoghurt
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) dried mixed herbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly whisked
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 g Pasta Grandé Spaghetti
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 4 litres water
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • chopped fresh parsley
For the tomato sauce:
  • 45 ml (3 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 x 400 g tins chopped, peeled tomatoes
  • ½ cup (125 ml) white wine
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) cream

Method

  1. First make the meatballs. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken mince, garlic, bread crumbs, yoghurt, chives, dry herbs and whisked egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper (see Papa Grandé’s Tips, below).
  2. Roll the mixture into small balls (it will be slightly sticky).
  3. Heat some vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the meatballs, in batches, over a medium-low heat until golden brown. Alternatively, you can bake them (see Papa Grandé’s Tips, below).
  4. To make the sauce, heat 3 Tbsp oil in a pot and fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, without letting it brown.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, white wine, dried herbs and sugar. Cook over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce has darkened to a rich red. Stir in the meatballs, turn down the heat and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.
  7. Bring the water and salt to a fast boil in a large pot. Add all the pasta in one go and stir to separate the strands. Briefly cover the pot with a lid until the water comes back to a rapid boil.  Cook, uncovered, stirring now and then, for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender (al dente).
  8. Drain the pasta using a big colander, reserving a third of a cup of the boiling water.
  9. Pile the spaghetti on a serving platter, mix in the reserved water (which will prevent it from sticking) and pour the meatball sauce on top.
  10. Sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, and serve immediately.
 Papa Grandé’s Tips 
  • You can bake the meatballs instead of frying them: place them on an oiled baking sheet, brush them with a little oil and bake at 180 °C for about 25 minutes, or until done.
  • Ask your butcher for chicken mince, or make it yourself by blitzing skinless, deboned chicken breasts or thighs in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  • A good way to check the seasoning of the mince mixture before you roll it into balls is to pinch off a small piece and fry it in oil.  Taste it once it’s cooked, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  • 600 g chicken mince (see Papa Grandés Tips, below)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup (250 ml) fresh brown bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) plain yoghurt
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) dried mixed herbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly whisked
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 g Pasta Grandé Spaghetti
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 4 litres water
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • chopped fresh parsley
For the tomato sauce:
  • 45 ml (3 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 x 400 g tins chopped, peeled tomatoes
  • ½ cup (125 ml) white wine
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) cream
  1. First make the meatballs. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken mince, garlic, bread crumbs, yoghurt, chives, dry herbs and whisked egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper (see Papa Grandé’s Tips, below).
  2. Roll the mixture into small balls (it will be slightly sticky).
  3. Heat some vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the meatballs, in batches, over a medium-low heat until golden brown. Alternatively, you can bake them (see Papa Grandé’s Tips, below).
  4. To make the sauce, heat 3 Tbsp oil in a pot and fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, without letting it brown.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, white wine, dried herbs and sugar. Cook over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce has darkened to a rich red. Stir in the meatballs, turn down the heat and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.
  7. Bring the water and salt to a fast boil in a large pot. Add all the pasta in one go and stir to separate the strands. Briefly cover the pot with a lid until the water comes back to a rapid boil.  Cook, uncovered, stirring now and then, for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender (al dente).
  8. Drain the pasta using a big colander, reserving a third of a cup of the boiling water.
  9. Pile the spaghetti on a serving platter, mix in the reserved water (which will prevent it from sticking) and pour the meatball sauce on top.
  10. Sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, and serve immediately.
 Papa Grandé’s Tips 
  • You can bake the meatballs instead of frying them: place them on an oiled baking sheet, brush them with a little oil and bake at 180 °C for about 25 minutes, or until done.
  • Ask your butcher for chicken mince, or make it yourself by blitzing skinless, deboned chicken breasts or thighs in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  • A good way to check the seasoning of the mince mixture before you roll it into balls is to pinch off a small piece and fry it in oil.  Taste it once it’s cooked, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Related Hint

HERBY CHICKEN MEATBALLS WITH SPAGHETTI

For a memorable family feast, serve this dish with cheesy garlic bread hot from the oven.

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