Somewhere along the way, Marc decided that he was obsessed with chicken parmesan. It’s been his favorite pasta meal since I can remember, and it became his go-to pre-game meal. I’ve made it thousands of times, using many different methods – with breading, without, in the oven, with pre-breaded chicken, small bite-sized chicken and butterflied chicken breasts. It’s something we have on such a regular basis that it just got old, and, to tell you the truth, I’ve never really liked it all that much myself. I mean, I usually eat it since it’s already cooked, but I’d never choose it myself.
So when I saw the concept of chicken parmesan meatballs on Pinterest, I knew it just had to make some. It took me a few trips to the grocery store to actually bring home some ground chicken, but I’m so glad we finally had them for dinner the other night. They were perfect – just the way I’d imagined, and they really jazzed up the whole chicken parmesan thing to which we’ve grown so accustomed. I’d take this dish over the traditional version any day.
Each meatball is stuffed with a 1/2-inch cube of mozzarella cheese, but don’t worry, it won’t ooze out too much because the egg in the meatball mixture forms a nice seal around the cheese. I serve our meatballs with traditional spaghetti, but you could easily use whatever pasta or sauce you want. Or even skip the pasta all together and make chicken parmesan meatball sliders,which is a good and delisious italian food for us every day.
Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
In a large bowl, mix together the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, pecorino romano cheese, basil, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, form meat mixture into meatballs – about 1½ inches in size. Press a cube of mozzarella into each meatball and cover with the meat mixture. Roll meatballs back into a ball if necessary.
Bake meatballs for 20 – 22 minutes on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
While meatballs are baking, prepare marinara sauce and cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente. When pasta is cooked, strain and toss with marinara sauce.
Remove meatballs from oven. Serve with pasta and grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese.