By Marie Muccio
It’s not just the Italians that can whip up a great pasta dish. The Greeks can do it too and this Greek inspired recipe is a humble dish that, when made with love, is truly something special.
Chicken meatballs with orzo consists of plump and juicy chicken meatballs cooked in stock. The meatballs flavour the stock which then becomes a wonderful broth to cook the orzo.
What is orzo you ask? Orzo is called Krithiraki in Greek and known as risoni in Italian. It’s a type of tiny pasta that resembles the shape of a grain of rice.
There are two parts to this recipe; firstly making and cooking the meatballs, then cooking the orzo using the stock you cooked the meatballs in.
The technique for cooking the orzo pasta is very similar to how you would make a risotto; adding one ladle of stock at a time and stirring until the stock has absorbed before adding the next.
This adds so much more flavour than simply cooking the pasta in boiling water.
It’s a great recipe for the little ones because the chicken meatballs are so soft and tender making them easy for little mouths to eat.
If you are short on time the meatball mixture can be made and rolled a day ahead. Place them on a tray lined with baking paper, cover with cling wrap and keep in the fridge. You can also freeze the meatballs at that point.
If you have leftovers it tastes even better the next day!
- 500g Chicken mince
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese plus extra ½ cup to serve
- 1 tbsp small bunch flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp chives thinly sliced
- 1 lemon zest finely grated
- 1 ltr chicken stock
- 50 g butter
- 1 small brown onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 250 g orzo or risoni dried pasta
In a large bowl add the chicken mince, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, half the parsley, thyme, chives, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix well until combined.
Roll the chicken mixture into 3–4cm balls, place on a lined tray and set aside.
To cook the meatballs, heat stock in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and cook for approx. 10 minutes or until tender and cooked through, turning them half-way.
For the orzo, melt half of the butter in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for a few minutes until softened.
Add the orzo and stir to coat in the butter mixture ensuring the all the grains of pasta are well coated.
Add a ladleful of stock and stir until the stock has been absorbed before adding another ladleful.
Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the orzo is al dente.
Remove from heat, stir through remaining butter, cheese, and herbs until combined, then stir through meatballs. Test for seasoning.
Divide pasta among bowls and serve immediately.