A few weeks ago, Slow Food USA put out a “$5 Challenge,” encouraging people to come up with home cooked meals for under $5/person. Joy Manning over at The Oyster Evangelist took up the challenge and shared her results with the Inquirer. When I saw that she had made chicken ricotta meatballs, I knew I had to check them out. We are constantly trying to eat healthier and I was interested in exploring this meatball alternative (not to mention the last chicken meatball I had from Marabella Meatball Co. was the bomb.)
Chicken Ricotta Meatballs (adapted from Joy Manning)
2 lbs. ground chicken (Manning suggests purchasing chicken thighs and running them through your food processor)
2 cups ricotta cheese (get fresh ricotta if you’re able. I got mine from Salumeria in the Reading Terminal)
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced onion (or to taste)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
-Combine the ground chicken, ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix gently until well combined.
-Form into meatballs the size of ping pong balls. They will seem very wet and gooey but have no fear. Arrange on a silcone mat or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, turning after about 15 minutes, until golden brown in spots.
-Transfer to a pot of tomato sauce and simmer until serving. I was planning on have a low-carb meal and serving them over zucchini noodles but ALAS, we had no zukes. This carboholic was just fine with spaghetti.
I was amazed by how light and fluffy the meatballs were and the ricotta seriously salvaged the dryness that is often prevalent in ground poultry. I made an abundant amount of meatballs but we somehow tore through them in just a few days. They were that good and absolutely packed with flavor. Next time I’m at the Reading Terminal, I’m hitting up Godshall’s to buy some ground chicken in bulk as this would be a great freezer meal.