Monday, January 18, 2010

Baked Chicken Meatballs with Penne Pasta in Vodka Sauce

The other day I was thumbing through an older issue of Gourmet magazine and found this recipe. I knew immediately that it was a recipe I must try. I am so glad I did. These were unbelievably delish and quite possibly our favorite meatball recipe. Although the dinner table is where we normally have deep discussions, tonight was an exception as all I could hear was a lot of smacking.

I served the meatballs with penne pasta in a delish vodka sauce. We enjoyed dipping the meatballs into the sauce.  This is an easy week night dinner, especially if you've got a second set of hands to help roll out the meatballs. Serve with a dinner salad and your favorite wine.

Baked Chicken Meatballs with
Penne Pasta in Vodka Sauce
adapted from Gourmet Magazine

3 slices Italian bread, torn into pieces (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 oz sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 lb ground chicken
2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 heaping tablespoon tomato paste, and I do mean heaping
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste, I used about 3-4 shakes

•Preheat oven 400*. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 4 minutes.

•Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in 1 Tbsp oil with 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.

•Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, pancetta mixture, bread, parsley, crushed red pepper flakes. Form 12 meatballs and arrange on lined (parchment paper) cookie sheet.

•Stir together tomato paste and remaining Tbsp oil and brush over meatballs, then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Mmmmm, mmmmm! Right out of the oven =)

Vodka Sauce

1/2 stick butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup chopped onion
1&1/4 cup heavy cream
1&1/4 cup tomato sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste

Melt butter with olive oil in large pan, add onions and cook over medium heat until onions turn translucent. Increase heat and add vodka. Burn off alcohol (appx 2 minutes) add tomato sauce and cream. Reduce heat simmer stirring often, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta.



  1. So glad you tried these and liked them! They were really something special!!!!

  2. The meatballs look so delicious - especially with pancetta in them! I bet it adds great flavor. The sauce sounds rich and creamy. What a great comfort meal!

  3. These look delicious! The sauce is delicious and similar to mine. Can't wait to try the meatballs.

  4. Mmmmm, this sounds interesting and looks good. Salad and a crusty bread makes this a yummy and super filling meal!

  5. Holy just made me hungry!!! I wish I cooked:)

  6. Vodka sauce is one of my favorites and who can resist it along with some delicious meatballs. I am soooo very hungry now!

  7. this looks amazing! i would do just about anything for these meatballs!!