Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chicken Meatball and Broccoli Pasta Bowl

I love pasta and broccoli and when you throw in a little Italian sausage, I'm in heaven!  You've seen the quick Italian flavored turkey sausage I've made for spaghetti and meatballs and so I thought..why not use ground chicken for this one.  Use the crush red pepper sparingly if you're not a heat freak!

Make about 4 servings

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken
1 to 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp granulated garlic
1  1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 egg
1 cup unseasoned panko crumbs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the oil thoroughly in a mixing bowl.  Cover and refrigerate the mixture for 2 to 4 hours.
After refrigeration roll the mixture into smallish ( 1 1/2 inch) meatballs.  Heat the oil in a very large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides in batches.  Remove the meatballs to paper toweling. Leave the drippings in the skillet.

Putting it all together:
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
10 ounces penne pasta
4 to 5 heaping cups of small fresh broccoli florets
The previously cooked meatballs
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan for garnish

Add the 2 Tbl of oil to the reserved skillet and saute the garlic and red pepper for about a minute until fragrant.
Add the meatballs and one cup of the chicken broth.  Turn off the heat while you prepare the pasta and broccoli.
Begin cooking the penne in a large pot per package instructions but add the other cup of chicken broth to the water.  The penne takes 10 to 11 minutes to cook.  At about the 8 minute mark add the broccoli florets to the cooking pasta and cook about 3 minutes more.  While the pasta is cooking start heating the meatballs in the skillet over medium heat.
Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving a cup or two of the pasta liquid and stir the mixture into the skillet of meatballs.  Add some of the pasta liquid if needed to loosen everything up.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parmesan.

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