2000s Recipes + Menus

Baked Chicken Meatballs with Peperonata

  • Active time:25 min
  • Start to finish:45 min
August 2009
Here’s an excellent reason to make a beeline for the ground-chicken section of the meat department: moist, flavorful meatballs speckled with pancetta and glazed with tomato paste. These are wonderful made with white or dark meat. View more of our favorite recipes from this issue.

For peperonata

  • 3 red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

For meatballs

  • 3 slices Italian bread, torn into pieces (1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 oz sliced pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Accompaniment:

    garlic bread made from remainder of Italian loaf

Make peperonata:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  • Toss bell peppers with 1 Tbsp oil, then roast in a 4-sided sheet pan in lower third of oven, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 35 minutes.
  • Stir together capers, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil in a medium bowl and set aside.

Make meatballs while peppers roast:

  • Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in 1 Tbsp oil with 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.
  • Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan.
  • Stir together tomato paste and remaining Tbsp oil and brush over meatballs, then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Toss bell peppers with caper mixture. Serve meatballs with peperonata.
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