Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Spaghetti with chicken and zucchini meatballs in fragrant tomato and basil sauce.

Who doesn’t like meatballs? Well, yes, vegetarians, of course; but I'm talking about the texture and homely appeal of these little orbs of hot deliciousness dressed in a fragrant sauce - irrespective of their actual content. Vegetarians may substitute a combination of cottage cheese and ground nuts or tofu for the flesh.

It's really very easy - I combined 750 grams or thereabouts of chicken mince with half a cup of bread crumbs, an egg, two tablespoonsful of grated parmesan cheese, a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves, half a very finely chopped zucchini (cutting the zucchini in two radially, cross-hatching on the cut surfaces progressively, an inch or so at a time, and then slicing thinly, radially again, to achieve very fine dice), half a cup of milk, a handful of chopped parsley and some salt and ground black pepper.

The measurements are inexact but you are trying to achieve a consistency that sticks together but isn’t too dry, with the milk balancing the added dry ingredients. I also threw in about half a tablespoonful each of polenta and couscous and a little extra milk to be taken up by these.

(It helps if you’ve thrown everything into the mixing bowl before you start combining because I found that taking the lid off a jar of bread crumbs when your hands are covered in chicken mince is not a good idea.)

Then I formed the mixture into little egg-shaped meatballs and placed these in a large pan in which was cooking a jar of tomato passata and two cans of diced tomatoes complete with their juice added to some browned onions. The mixture needs to be fluid enough to boil the meatballs. Twenty minutes will do it. Add torn strips of basil out of the garden.

Cook spaghetti to well done. Al dente doesn't work with meatballs. I prefer regular spaghetti or bucatini but thin tagliatelle or fettucine will suffice.

More parmesan over the top. Glass of red. Crusty bread. Enjoy.


Carmen in Canada said...

That sounds really really good! It's only 9am here in Canada and I am hungry for dinner already! I am definitely going to try making that! I'm always looking for something new and tasty and this will do the trick....thank you!

Sara said...

love the zuchinni in the meatballs, yum!

Lucy said...

And a good way to hide vegetables.

There is something rather good about dense little dumplings in tomato sauce. You've given me (another) good idea.

Cindy said...

You must be right - ever since I went veg I've been addicted to Indian kofta balls.