We’ve all been in a recipe rut, that’s why we started a series on Twin Cities Live at Four called, “Monday Night Meal.” The goal is start your week off strong. The creator of johnjeanjuan.com, Terry John Zila stopped by to make Chicken Meatballs and Marinara Sauce.
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3 slices Italian bread, torn into pieces (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3. In a large sauté pan, cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly.
4. Squeeze bread to remove excess milk and then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl and then combine with chicken, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 24 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan.
5. Stir together tomato paste and remaining tablespoon of olive oil and brush over meatballs, then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, about 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 145 degrees F when inserted into one of the meatballs.
Quick Marinara Sauce
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely diced onions
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled, tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme, tied
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring, until just beginning to color, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes with about half of their juices (discarding the rest), the herb sprigs and basil and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, uncovered for about 25 to 30 minutes or until thickened.
5. Remove the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste