Chicken parmesan gets a brand new look in these meatballs with mozzarella centers and a crispy bread crumb coating. Genius.
They taste exactly like the classic dish. All the very same flavors and textures I love about chicken parmesan are present. Whether baked or fried they have that lovely crispy coating on the outside with molten mozzarella on the inside.
I love all things meatball related. With that said it’s confession time: the picky eater in me was a little hesitant about eating ground chicken. I found it a lot softer and moister than ground beef or pork but just as easy to work with. And surprise(!) every bit as delicious.
If you bake the meatballs the way I did they won’t come out golden brown like frying them will achieve but they do take on the same definable crunch. For a time saver you can use your favorite jarred sauce.
Serve with angel hair spaghetti or another type of pasta. I imagine they make one of the best sandwiches ever on a toasted hoagie or kaiser roll.
Either way “winner-winner-chicken-dinner”.
I couldn’t resist.
- In a large saucepan sauté the onion in oil over medium heat, seasoning well with salt and pepper and stirring often until soft and tender; add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add Italian seasonings, parsley, bay leaf and tomato paste. Stir into the onions and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes; add the water to the empty tomato can and swish around to pick up the remaining sauce then add to pan. Season well with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar.
- Simmer 30 - 40 minutes, tasting often to check for seasonings and adding more water if too thick. Remove bay leaf before serving.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet or roasting pan with sides. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, the Parmesan, milk, Italian seasoning, 3/4 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and mix together with a fork until just combined - don't over mix.
- Place remaining bread crumbs in a wide shallow dish.
- To form meatballs scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture and from into a disc, place a cube of mozzarella in the center, form the meat around it and roll lightly in the palm of your hand. Coat the meatball in bread crumbs gently patting them on. If baking, place on baking sheet about an inch apart - if frying set on a platter. Repeat until all the meat is used.
- To Bake: pop the pan into oven and cook about 20 minutes. To Fry: In a medium-sized straight-sided skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Line a large plate with paper towels. Fry the meatballs in batches until golden brown, turning once. Transfer meatballs to the plate using a slotted spoon and allow to drain.
- Meanwhile cook pasta according to package instructions in plenty of salted water. Drain and toss with enough sauce to generously coat the spaghetti.
- Sprinkle parsley over top of the meatballs and serve with the spaghetti and extra Parmesan.
Inspired by Everyday Food Magazine