Chicken Meatballs with Sage Pesto Orzo

(Serves 7)

 

Sage Pesto

1 Cup Fresh Sage – 

1 Cup Fresh Parsley

⅓ Cup Shelled Pistachios

½ Cup Grated Pecorino Romano

2 Garlic Cloves

¼ tsp Salt

¼ Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

⅔ Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Meatballs

2 Cups of Old Italian Bread- Crust Removed – Just the dough

½ Cup Milk

2 Tbsp. Sage Pesto

1 ½ lbs. Ground Chicken

2 Tbsp. Parsley

2 Eggs- Beaten

¾ tsp. Black Pepper

1 ¼ tsp. Salt

¾ Cup Grated Pecorino

½ Cup Plain Bread Crumbs

Vegetable Oil for Frying

 

For the Pasta

1 ½  lb. Orzo

3 tbsp. Olive Oils

Reserved Pasta Water

½ Cup Pecorino

 

For the pesto make sure you use fully packed cups of the sage and parsley. Add the sage, parsley, pistachios, Pecorino, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes to a food processor.  Begin to puree and gradually add in the olive oil until well blended and smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two pans with parchment. Brush the parchment with olive oil and set aside. 

For the meatballs, soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes and break apart really well with your hands.  Mix in the pesto.  Add the ground chicken, the parsley, eggs, black pepper, Pecorino and bread crumbs.  Form into balls and place on the parchment.  Once you have made all the balls put in the oven until cooked through and golden brown.  About 30 minutes.

Salt Pasta water very well.  Once boiling, add the orzo.  Before draining remove 1 cup of pasta water. Drain pasta. 

In a frying pan heat 3 tbsp. Olive oil. and add the remaining pesto.  Add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water.  Then mix in the orzo and Pecorino.  If it seems too dry add more pasta water to loosen.  Sometimes, I even add more olive oil.  Add the meatballs to the orzo and serve.

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