One of my most popular recipes to date is my One Pan Tuscan Chicken, with over 30 million hits. Why? Because the flavors are incredibly delicious. I took the same recipe, and gently modified it for chicken meatballs sitting on a bed of fluffy orzo, cooked in the creamy, Tuscan sauce you've come to love. This recipe is perfect for a family of four, and needs nothing else, unless you throw some crusty bread in, or a salad on the side for larger appetites.
A quick thought: If you prefer to use ground pork or beef in the meatballs, I think it's fine, the overall flavor will be meatier...but no ground turkey. I feel the texture gets to dry in "ball" form.
Notes: Butter is unsalted. Chicken broth is low-sodium.
ONE PAN TUSCAN CHICKEN MEATBALLS WITH ORZO
Ingredients: 1 lb. ground chicken, 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 medium grated onion, 3 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. butter, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1 cup orzo, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup cream, 2 cups frozen or chopped fresh spinach, 1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley (optional).
1. Prep and brown the meatballs: Make the meatballs by mixing together the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, panko crumbs, egg, 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, onion, 1 tsp. of minced garlic, dried basil and oregano. Form golf-ball sized balls (about 12-14 of them) by rolling with damp hands. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until glossy. Fry the meatballs until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate.
2. Make Tuscan sauce: In the same skillet (with the brown bits still in it) add the butter, 2 tsp. minced garlic and lemon juice. Deglaze the pan and scrape up the bits. Add the sundried tomatoes, spinach, and cream. Bring to a simmer over medium-low (until the cream just begins to bubble).
3. Add orzo and meatballs/cook: Add in the orzo, 1 tsp salt, and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Place the meatballs back in the skillet on top of the orzo. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the meatballs. Cover and cook on a low simmer for 18-25 minutes, until the orzo is cooked and most of the broth is absorbed. Serve with fresh parsley over the top, if you like.