Chicken Pesto Meatballs with a Creamy Orzo

Chicken Pesto Meatballs with a Creamy Orzo is a delicious meal that my teenage son calls “fire”, which apparently means it is delicious. 

The meatballs are baked, not fried for a lighter meal and they come together so quickly.

In fact, quick tip, I like to make more than the recipe calls for and eat them with salad for lunch. So good!

For the pesto, you can use store bought, but I highly advise you make your own.  It is so easy to do and if you make extra it can be used on so many things. 


(Serves 4)


1 lb. Ground Chicken

2 tbsp. Pesto (Homemade -see not below- or store bought)

½ cup Plain Breadcrumbs

2 tbsp. Parsley

1 tsp. Salt

½ tsp. Pepper

2 Eggs, Beaten

½ cup Grated Pecorino Romano


¼ Cup Olive Oil

3 Garlic Cloves, Slice Thinly

1 ¼ Cup Orzo

10 oz. Grape Tomatoes, Halved

3 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth

1 ¼ tsp. Salt 

½ tsp. Pepper

3 oz. Fresh Spinach

½ Cup Ricotta

2 tbsp. Pesto

½ Cup Pecorino


For the pesto you can use store bought pesto, but I highly advise you make your own.  It is so easy to do and if you make extra it can be used on so many things.  See the ingredients and directions at the end of this recipe if you want to make the pesto homemade.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Brush the parchment with olive oil and set aside. In a bowl, combine the chicken, pesto, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, eggs and Pecorino. Form into balls and place on the parchment.  Once you have made all the balls, drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven until cooked through and golden brown.  About 30 minutes.

In th meantime, in a large fry pan, heat the olive oil.  Add in the garlic and saute on low for about three minutes.  Add in the orzo and raise the heat to low/medium.  Toast the orzo for about 5 to 8 minutes.  They should become slightly golden.

Next add in half of the tomatoes.  Saute for 2 minutes and get in the chicken broth, and season with salt and pepper.  Be sure to stir often so the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. 

The liquid will begin to evaporate after about 10 minutes.  Then add in the rest of the tomatoes and spinach. Cook for another few minutes until the spinach wilts.  If the orzo is getting too dry you can always add a little more broth.

In a small bowl combine the ricotta with the pesto and Pecorino.  Add that to the orzo and combine well.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and combine with the orzo and serve.

Pesto Recipe

(Quantities are for this recipe, but you can always make more and use in other recipes)

¼  Cup Olive Oil (High quality is a must.)

4 Whole Garlic Cloves 

1 Cup Basil Leaves 

2 tbsp.  Pignoli Nuts

1 tbsp. Lemon Juice 

¼  Teaspoon Salt

⅛  Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

¼ Cup Grated Pecorino Romano


In a small frying pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and add in the garlic. Cook on a low flame until the garlic is fork tender and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. 

Heat another small frying pan, add the pignoli nuts and lightly toast until golden brown. 

Put the basil, pignoli nuts, garlic and oil, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor. Blend well and set aside

Put any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate.

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