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In the romance of summer, time seems to be moving by faster. One minute I'm on a conference call with a client negotiating the terms of a purchase agreement on yet another six-figure dressage horse and the next minute it's a quarter to eight and our stomachs are growling with painful disappointment.
Lately I've fallen into two routines: slow cooker meals that can be prepped the night before or pasta with sauce purchased from the grocery store I have uncovered buried in the back on the pantry. Sometimes I'll quickly brown some ground beef or turkey sausage to throw in with the sauce, but if I'm being completely honest with myself, it's not very satisfying. About an hour later, I'm finding myself going back for seconds. A second serving of wine that is.
Ground chicken is one of those things I don't buy often enough, yet I find myself craving it when I've grown tired of beef or turkey. When I'm in a pinch, I like to have ground chicken stored in the freezer for chicken tacos, spicy chicken salad lettuce wraps, jalapeño chicken burgers, and simple bean chili. Though my favorite way to use ground chicken is in these chicken Parmesan meatballs which come together in less than thirty minutes. Alternatively, if you have ground turkey, they come out pretty tasty, too!
I always try to keep several jars of marinara sauce in the pantry, and for this recipe you can either use store bought or homemade marinara. If you're having company over for a glass of wine, simply serve these meatballs with the reserved sauce (warmed, of course) alongside some tooth picks for easy dipping. When I'm making these for dinner, I simply boil some pasta while the meatballs are baking, open a bottle of Sangiovese or a light Merlot and quickly put together a simple salad for a well-rounded meal.
What Is Sangiovese?
If you're unfamiliar with Sangiovese, you've probably seen "Chianti" on the menu of your favorite Italian restaurant. Chianti, you see, is Sangiovese produced in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy. Sometimes you'll come across a Chianti with a blend of Syrah, Merlot or even Cabernet Sauvignon to finish the wine. Regardless of what it's name on the bottle is, Sangiovese or Chianti is a dry (meaning it is high in tannins and will dry your mouth), earthy wine, that is high in acidity. If you smell it prior to tasting it, you will get a nose full of red berries such as strawberries, raspberries or cherries. Don't be alarmed, these components are what make Sangiovese such a great wine to pair with hearty tomato sauce-based dishes, such as this one. In fact, when dining out at Italian restaurants, I will typically order a Sangiovese or Chianti with any dish with a red sauce.
1 Jar Marinara Sauce
1 pound ground chicken
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare a grill, may use flavored chips if desired.
Pour 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce into a mixing bowl with ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese and salt and pepper. Mix together until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and lay out onto prepared grilling pan.
Grill for about 20 minutes, rotating often to avoid overcooking until cooked.
While meatballs are baking, warm the remainder of the sauce.