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A healthier alternative to traditional beef meatballs, this pasta and spicy chicken meatballs are served with a subtle, but spicy homemade tomato sauce.
Spicy Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce.
My husband and I regularly argue about who makes the best meatballs. He makes his the traditional way, with beef, diced bacon and in my opinion, extremely bland flavors. Other than albondigas which he has recently begun making more frequently. These spicy chicken meatballs are similar to a recipe I shared a few years ago for weeknight grilled meatballs, which are also made from ground chicken but aren’t at all spicy.
I couldn’t think of a better recipe to close out the month of January with than these spicy chicken meatballs. They’re still healthy-ish, and if you so choose, you don’t actually need to serve them with pasta. My husband caved on week two of an attempt at clean eating, and upon making this recipe when the time came to photograph it, he insisted on including pasta. I figured since he’s decided to help me with some of the more labor intensive aspects to running this blog, I’d give him this one but only if he admitted these spicy chicken meatballs were better than anything he makes.
The whole dish couldn’t be any easier to make. The mixture for the spicy chicken meatballs are simply combined together in a bowl, rolled into 2-inch balls and then baked to tender perfection. For the meatball mixture, I highly recommend using high-quality panko or making your own.
For the sauce, the vegetables are lightly cooked on the stove top before the rest of the ingredients are added and simmered together. Like I say in every recipe that calls for wine, cook with whatever red wine you like to drink. There’s no point in cooking with a bottle of wine that costed you $6 at the grocery store if you won’t drink it. Using higher quality wine in cooking really has an impact on the finished recipe. If you want, you can use a red wine blend, but just make sure that it’s extremely dry. No light and fruity wines here. I suggest using Merlot, Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
I used and paired these spicy chicken meatballs with tomato sauce with a really drinkable merlot from Ancient Peaks, a new-to-me Central Coast Winery, that showcases what merlot is capable of.
Spicy Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce
Spicy, fork-tender chicken meatballs served with a homemade tomato sauce make a great weeknight main dish or dinner party appetizer.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: approximately 16 meatballs depending on size
- 5 ounces canned green chiles, diced and drained
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 6 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg, lightly whisked
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup dry red wine such as a merlot, Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 pound cooked pasta, optional
- Preheat oven to 375º and spray a baking sheet with cooking oil.
- In a bowl, combine the diced green chiles, ground chicken, panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, egg, salt, and pepper. With your hands, form the chicken mixture into 2-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet 1/2-inch apart. Bake until the meatballs are cooked completely through, about 15 minutes.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining olive oil and once shimmering, add the onion and garlic, using a wooden spoon to stir until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, salt and continue cooking. Add the wine, and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid has slightly evaporated. With an immersion blender, purée the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the cooked pasta and sauce amongst 4 bowls and top with 4 meatballs and garnish with additional parmesan pepper and chopped basil.