Italian Chicken Meatballs

Recipe by David J Rust
READY IN: 1hr 30mins




  • Heat your oven to 325°F.
  • In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the fennel seeds and red chili flakes until their aroma begins to smell smoky and more pronounced. Do not let them burn. Remove them from heat and grind them, in a coffee or spice grinder, with 1 teaspoon -each- of dried basil, marjoram, and thyme. Set this spice blend aside.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the three ounces Vidalia onions, green bell pepper, and celery in 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • Season the vegetables with 1/4 teaspoon -each- of salt and black pepper. (Adjust to reflect personal tastes.) Add 5 cloves of minced garlic and continue to sauté until the vegetables are completely softened.
  • Add the three tablespoons skim milk to the vegetables and cook to further soften them until all the milk appears to have been absorbed.
  • Remove the vegetables from heat and cool for a few minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 egg, 1 ounce parmesan cheese, and the spice blend (see step 2, above) with a wooden spoon. Blend thoroughly.
  • Add the cooled vegetables and stir them in to the chicken mixture, completely incorporating the them.
  • Keeping one hand dry, form small, golf-ball sized balls (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter) from the meat and roll in the flour. Roll the floured meatballs in your hand to remove the excess. (NOTE: You will probably use a cup of flour, but only an ounce or so will stick to the meatballs when you knock off the excess.) This will make approximately 20 meatballs.
  • In a skillet over medium, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until hot. Add the meatballs (do not over-crowd; do this in several batches if necessary) and lightly brown them on one side, first, before flipping them over and doing the other. Each side should take about 3 minutes.
  • When all the meatballs have been browned, set them aside and -in the skillet where they were browned- sauté 3 minced garlic cloves and the 1 ounce of minced shallot. Add the diced tomatoes, teaspoon of both marjoram and thyme, and the 1/4 teaspoon of both salt and black pepper. Mix together and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  • Place the browned meatballs in a baking dish and pour the tomato mixture over them. Put the meatballs and sauce in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the finished meatballs, place them on a platter, and garnish with 1 ounce grated parmesan cheese and 1 ounce finely chopped green onion.
  • Serve family style with rice, pasta, gnocci, or broccoli.