Baked Chicken Meatballs – Dinner is Served: January 11, 2014

Baked Chicken Meatballs
From Smitten Kitchen

  • 3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped (Smitten recommends Canadian bacon as a subsitute.  I went with Danish from the Farmer’s Market)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 400°F. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.

Cook up the pancetta (or bacon), onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened.  (This is the step that may lead neighbors to knock and your door and strike up a conversation hoping you’ll invite them to stay for dinner).

Cool the mixture slightly.

Squeeze bread to remove excess milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan (Smitten used a 9×13 roasting dish).

Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs), then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes (mine took about 25).

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