For some reason, our whole family recently got on a crazy meatball craving kick!
It was funny how it spread...
I finally got to try Swedish meatballs at Ikea while on vacation.
(which I think were better in my imagination that on the plate...but oh well, I was at an IKEA!) From then on, the kids started asking constantly when we could have spaghetti and meatballs.
Spaghetti and meatballs don't really feel like a fresh summer meal, so we decided to shake it up and reinvent the meal! The kids were hilarious as they helped throw out suggestions for a new recipe...
I had to rule out adding green beans to the meatballs! After a trip to the garden, we ended up with tons of fresh basil and our very first head of broccoli. We headed to the store for tomatoes since ours are still too green.
Here's the result: Summer Spaghetti and Meatballs
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
3/4 cup grated Italian blend cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
4 T. olive oil (more if needed)
For pasta dish:
1 pound whole wheat pasta
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, hot
4 tomatoes, diced
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, basil, eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine.
Using a melon baller, form the chicken mixture into 1- 1 1/2 in. balls.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. (Skillet will be very full.) Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 3 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add tomatoes, broccoli, and basil. Simmer until vegetables are heated, about 3 minutes. Drain the pasta, and add to meat/vegetable mixture. Toss gently. Serve will fresh grated parmesan cheese.
For best summery results: finish off the meal with some yummy, sweet and juicy watermelon!