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Healthy Tomato Sauce With Chicken Meatballs

Nonna's Healthy Tomato Sauce With Chicken Meatballs

Serves 4 - 6

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Nonna Lina started making her meatballs with chicken instead of the usual beef last year, looking for a lower fat alternative. The meatballs are moist, tender and absolutely delicious cooked as she usually makes her meatballs in tomato sauce. The trick to making these tender, is to actually use chicken breasts she finely chops herself rather than using ground chicken or turkey which makes them too dense. The sauce is much healthier flavored with chicken rather than the traditional beef and pork, and can be used to top any pasta, gnocchi, polenta, or in lasagna as usual. Nonna likes to serve her meatballs separately from the pasta as a second course, and prefers some type of short pasta such as penne or rigatoni.

For The Sauce:

1 (28 oz) Can Imported Tomatoes (Chopped or Strained)

1 (6 oz) Can Tomato Paste

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onions

3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)

1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil

3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley

2 - 3 Cups Water

1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Or Pecorino Cheese

For The Meatballs:

3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 Egg

1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Slices Italian Bread Soaked In Milk

2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley

Salt And Pepper

To Serve:

1 Pound Dried Pasta Of Choice

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onions until soft. Add the garlic, and cook until it is fragrant. Add the wine and cook until it has almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 cups of water, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Wrap the chicken breasts in plastic wrap to protect them, and place them in the freezer until they are slightly firm to the touch, but not frozen. Remove from the freezer, and using a sharp knife, cut the chicken into tiny pieces, smaller than little peas. In a bowl, place the chicken, egg, cheese, and seasonings. Squeeze the milk from the bread slices, and crumble this into the chicken mixture. Mix well with your hands until the bread is blended into the chicken well. The mixture will be quite moist at this time.

Using wet hands, form the chicken into golf ball sized meatballs, and carefully drop them into the simmering sauce. Use up all of the chicken mixture in this fashion. Leave the pot partially covered, and simmer for 20 minutes. Carefully stir the mixture, and then cook another 40 minutes. Serve over your pasta of choice cooked al dente with the meatballs served on the side.

Nonna Lina ~ 2003

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