- 3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
- ⅓ cup milk
- 3 ounces ounces sliced pancetta, Canadian bacon or bacon
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.
- Cook up the pancetta (or bacon), onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened. (This is the step that may lead neighbors to knock and your door and strike up a conversation in the hopes that you will invite them in for a bite of whatever it is you’re cooking).
- Cool the mixture slightly.
- Squeeze bread to remove excess milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan (Smitten used a 9×13 roasting dish).
- Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs), then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes
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