Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24: Mini Chicken Sausage Meatballs with Gnocchi and Tomato Sauce

1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup tender sun-dried tomatoes
20 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some to drizzle
1 medium onion, finely chopped
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound gnocchi
   Crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
   Grated Parmesan cheese, to pass at the table

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the chicken in a medium bowl with the grill seasoning, fennel seeds, and half of the garlic. Pile the sun-dried tomatoes on top of each other in small stacks, then slice into thin strips. Coarsely chop the thin strips and add to the bowl.

Roll the mixture into mini balls, 1 1/2 inches across, and arrange on a rimmed nonstick cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until firm and lightly golden.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the gnocchi. Season the water with salt, add the gnocchi, and cook according to the package directions.


Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of EVOO and the onions, remaining garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the tomatoes and tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat. Stir in the basil leaves, whole or torn.

Toss the gnocchi and meatballs with the sauce and serve with grated cheese to pass at the table.


This meal, although very tomatoey, was pretty good. I like the meat and gnocchi together, but not so much separately. On their own the flavors are a little strong. The only change I made was to make the recipe call for Parmesan instead of Parmigiano-Reggiano. And I only made half the recipe.

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