My usual go-to recipe involves ingredients like beef and veal and breadcrumbs, which is pretty standard. This recipe uses ground chicken and pancetta (um, yes please). Using ground chicken, which we also used in this recipe, gives the meatballs a lighter color. After forming the meatballs, I brushed the tops of the meatballs with tomato paste to add some vibrant red color and baked them in the oven. Per the recipe, I created the peperonata, which was as simple as roasting peppers and mixing them with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and capers.
I loved the addition of the peperonata to the meatballs. Any day I can eat capers with my meal is a good day. The topping made the meatballs more of a proper side dish without needing a full sauce or pasta to go with them.
Epicurious Challenge Recipe: 38 & 39/138
Downtime: 35 minutes Makes: 12
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Toss bell peppers with 1T olive oil.
- Roast on a rimmed baking sheet in lower third of the oven. Stir occasionally until peppers are browned (not burnt!), about 35 minutes.
- In a bowl, combine capers, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and 1/2T olive oil. Set aside.
- Keep the oven on for the meatballs!
- In a small bowl, soak Italian bread in milk in a small bowl until soft, 4 minutes.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pancetta, onion, 1T olive oil, and 1/2t each of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are soft, 6 minutes. Let cool down until you're able to touch it.
- Squeeze the milk out of the bread and set the bread aside.
- Lightly beat the egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley.
- Form 12 meatballs and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Stir tomato paste and 1T olive oil. Brush the mixture on top of the meatballs, then bake until meatballs are cooked through, 15-20 minutes.
- Toss the roasted bell peppers with the caper mixture and serve by spooning mixture over meatballs.