1 pound ground chicken
1 box chopped frozen spinach, defrosted, wrung dry in a towel and separated
3 cloves garlic, peeled, divided
1 medium onion, peeled, divided
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon)
Up to 1/4 cup milk, for moistening
1 large egg
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
1 can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces)
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or shredded
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of a baking sheet.
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
Place the chicken and spinach in bowl. Grate 1 clove of garlic into the bowl or finely chop 1 clove of garlic and add it to the bowl. Grate 3-4 tablespoons of onion directly into the bowl. Combine 1/2 cup of the cheese and all of the breadcrumbs with the nutmeg and barely moisten with milk, no more than 1/4 cup. Sprinkle the bread-cheese mixture into the chicken, then add the egg, parsley, salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste.
Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of tomato paste with 1 tablespoon EVOO in small bowl. Mix and combine the chicken with the breadcrumb mixture and section the meatball mix into quarters. Roll three large meatballs from each section, arranging the meatballs on the baking sheet as you work. Using a pastry brush, brush the meatballs with the tomato paste and oil mixture and roast in the oven for 18-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Finely chop the remaining two cloves of garlic and the remainder of the onion. Add the garlic and onion to the EVOO and gently cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock to the pan and gently mash up. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil and allow the sauce to reduce while you cook the pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente, reserving 1 cup of the starchy water. Drain the pasta and place it back in the hot pot with the butter, remaining cheese and sauce. Toss the pasta to coat evenly, adjust salt and pepper and serve alongside the chicken meatballs.
This is one of many "Yum-o!" recipes – it's good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael's nonprofit organization, go to www.yum-o.org.