These are the best meatballs that I've ever made! They smelled so great while I was mixing and forming them, and then tasted incredible! My husband and kids agreed, asking for seconds. The sauce is simple and delicious as well. (We had some parmesan-pepper potatoes and roast broccolini alongside.)
2 pounds ground chicken
salt & black pepper
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds (I omitted this, as I don't like fennel)
3 cloves garlic, either minced or grated
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
ball of fresh mozzarella, cut 16 small chunks from it
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup basil pesto
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets with about 1 tbsp olive oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, salt, pepper, rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, and bread crumbs. (If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more bread crumbs.)
Form 16 meatballs, placing a chunk of cheese in the center of each. Arrange 8 balls on each of two baking sheets and coat them with olive oil. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning over halfway through.
While the meatballs are roasting, add tomatoes to a small pot or skillet, mash with a potato masher, and season with salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat then simmer to reduce, about 8-10 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in pesto.
Serve meatballs with the tomato-basil sauce on top or underneath.