Weeknight Baked Italian inspired chicken meatballs in a creamy homemade vodka sauce topped with shredded parmesan cheese and a quick and easy arugula pesto that’s served with some thick cut crusty garlic bread. Family sized chicken meatballs packed with fresh oregano, parmesan cheese, shallots and a blend of spices baked in a super easy and tasty velvety rose vodka sauce and finished off with large dollops of zesty, herby, peppery arugula pesto all served with thick cut crunchy garlic toast.
HOMEMADE VODKA SAUCE
A super quick and easy creamy rose sauce made with just a few ingredients and perfect to serve with chicken meatballs. The sauce is made with shallots, garlic, red chili flakes, tomato paste, vodka and thickened with a cornstarch slurry which is a touch of cornstarch mixed with cold water and heavy cream to finish it off. This is all done in the same pan used to brown the meatballs. The vodka helps to scrape up all the browned bits and anything that stuck to the bottom which will add extra flavour to the sauce. This is exactly what we want to create a super rich creamy sauce.
This pesto has become a weekly occurrence for me. I make it all the time and use it for everything! I love making a big batch for the week and use it with egg, basically any sandwich, pasta sauce, and over chicken. To make the pesto, add everything into a food processor or use a blender if you don’t have one. I like to already mince the garlic to ensure that it’s super fine. Give it a quick pulse before adding in the olive oil so that all the ingredients become fine. I like to add a good amount of olive oil because I like it a bit runny so that it can spread better and run down the food. But that’s really up to you. The pesto does thicken as it sits and over time in the fridge. You might need to add a touch of olive oil the following day to bring it back to life and its original texture.
If you’re looking for similar options and other recipes where these sauces come into play check these out!
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Chicken Meatballs in vodka sauce
Baked Italian inspired chicken meatballs in a creamy homemade vodka sauce topped with shredded parmesan cheese and a quick and easy arugula pesto serve with some thick cut crusty garlic bread.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Author: the communal feast
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 2 small shallots finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano finely chopped
- 2 TBS chives finely chopped
- 1 TBS ground garlic
- 1 TBS red chili flakes
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- salt and black pepper
- 2 cups parmesan grated
- serve with garlic bread
- Arugula Pesto:
- 1 1/2 cups arugula
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup pinenuts
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- Vodka sauce:
- 1 TBS butter
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 TBS red chili flakes
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 TBS cornstarch
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
In a large shallow bowl, combine the ground chicken, shallots, oregano, chives, garlic, chili flakes, chili powder and 1 cup of parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and mix until just combined. Roll the mixture into 2 inch sized meatballs. Use a large cookie scoop to portion them out. Dab a bit of olive oil in the palm of your hands to help coat and roll into evenly round balls. (will make roughly 25)
In a large pan, heat a bit of olive oil and brown the meatballs on all sides. Do in batches if needed. Remove and set aside.
To the same pan, melt the butter. Once melted, cook the shallots until translucent. Add the garlic and chili flakes, cook another minute. Next add the tomato paste and stir to combine, pour in the vodka and bring to a boil. Scrape the browned bits at the bottom of the pan during this process. Once the mixture is bubbling, reduce to simmer. Mix the cornstarch with the water to make a thickening slurry and pour into the pan. Add the heavy cream and let simmer until thickened and most of the vodka has cooked down. Add more water or cream if needed to increase the volume and thickness of the sauce. Taste test to ensure there isn't a strong vodka taste. If there is, continue to simmer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large deep baking dish (12x9) spread a few spoonful sized amounts of sauce to coat the bottom of the dish. Layer the meatballs side by side across the dish touching but not on top of each other. Pour the remainder of the sauce overtop to cover all the meatballs. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese overtop and cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes.
To make the arugula pesto: In a food processor, combine arugula, basil, pinenuts, garlic, lemon juice and parmesan. Slowly pour the olive oil as the pesto is blending. Mix until well combined and the pesto turns a bright green. If needed, add more olive oil for a thinner pesto.
Once the meatballs are done baking, remove from the oven and spread a few tablespoons of pesto across the top. Add the remaining parmesan cheese, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.
To serve: top with extra pesto and cheese and serve with crusty garlic bread.