Love the addition of a bit of ricotta in the meatballs, they are super tender and delicious. The sauce comes together quickly and is a perfect blanket for the meatballs and pasta. I like to use sun dried tomatoes that I can but in bulk so just look for the best quality you can otherwise drain the oil from the tomatoes. If you prefer to bake your meatballs that is certainly an option. Bake at 400 on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 20-30 minutes until golden and cooked through. This option is a bit more health friendly.

Serves 2-4


for pasta chicken meatballs:

  • lb penne pasta
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup flour for rolling meatballs before frying
  • canola oil for frying

for sauce:

  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce (homemade or favorite prepared)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes, without oil
  • 1 bunch julienned basil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Parmesan for serving, optional


for meatballs:

Place the onions, garlic and parsley in your food processor and pulse ingredients until finely chopped. Add ground chicken, ricotta and egg yolk along with seasonings. Pulse in food processor about 10 times or so until well incorporated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and roll chicken mixture into meatballs ( you should have about 12). Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Heat a large pan with canola oil about 1/2 an inch up the pan and heat to 350 degrees or until almost smoking hot. Just before frying meatballs, roll the meatballs in flour, shaking off any excess. Place prepared meatballs in hot oil about 4 minutes per side until golden on the outside and cooked through. Remove from pan, discard oil once cooled and place cooked meatballs on paper towel and keep warm while you prepare sauce and pasta.

for sauce and pasta:

In a large skillet, heat butter and oil on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and seasoning with salt and pepper for a few minutes until onions are fragrant and translucent. Add tomato sauce and cream to the sauce and stir to combine blending flavors over low heat, testing for seasoning. Reduce heat to low and add meatballs to sauce coating gently. Lastly add basil and sun dried tomatoes to sauce.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions, reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Drain pasta and take about 1 cup of sauce and blend it into cooked penne to coat,using some of reserved cooking liquid to thin sauce as needed. Serve pasta in bowls ladling extra sauce on top with meatballs. Serve with Parmesan and garnish with extra basil. Enjoy!