Chicken Meatballs Florentine with Eggless Fonduta and Oven-Charred Broccoli
This recipe was created by Jennifer Chase, an excellent and creative cook. Here are her comments and suggestions for enjoying them in your home.
With these gigantic, heart-healthy meatballs in the freezer, there’s always something to feed friends and family who, at the end of a fun day of visiting, decide to stay for dinner. But they’re extra special the day you make them, too: Crusty on the outside and juicy in the middle, Panko bread crumbs give them firmness and Parmigiano-Reggiano gives them a perfectly rounded flavor so that very little seasoning is needed. And that fonduta, an eggless version of the well-known sauce from the Piemonte and Valle d’Aosta, is luscious on just about anything!
- FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 5 pounds ground chicken or turkey
- 1 16-ounce bag chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or soy cream, or mixture of all three
- 1 1/2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce du jour
- Sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (unbromated, white whole-wheat flour preferred, but any will do)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, half-and-half, soy cream, or mixture of all three
- 8 ounces Fontina, diced
- Nutmeg, freshly grated, to taste
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- FOR THE BROCCOLI
- 1 head fresh broccoli, (use just florets, or stems, too, depending on preference)
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- Filippo Berio olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Drain the spinach your preferred way - either by pressing through a sieve, or wringing through a clean towel. Set aside.
- Place the ground chicken or turkey in the largest mixing bowl you own, and make a well in the middle of the meat. Add the spinach, onion, garlic, egg, milk, hot sauce, Panko crumbs, and Parmigiano-Reggiano; season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix well after each addition.
- Still using your hands, form the mixture into (roughly) 24 large balls, about the size of baseballs, and arrange on nonstick baking sheets. Roast for 35 minutes, or until they're browned to your liking. When finished, use a spatula and some heft to remove them from the pan to your serving dish of choice.
- Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Melt the mixture, add the onion, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute; then whisk in the milk, and the broth. Bring the liquid to a boil. Slowly add the Fontina. Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Serve meatballs and sauce with pasta, wild rice, or on a bed of Oven-Charred Broccoli (see below), the perfect complement to the creamy sauce.
- Oven-Charred Broccoli
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- On a cookie or baking sheet, toss fresh broccoli with your choice amount of olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and roast for 15 minutes, but start checking around 10 minutes as everyone's "charred" preference is different.
This recipe was featured on Season 18 - Episode 1812.