A cozy supper with such great mediterranean flavors.  I prepared the meatballs in advance and then popped them in the oven for about 25 minutes and served them over the pilaf.  Serve with your favorite salad for a delicious dinner.

Serves 4-6, makes about 20 meatballs


for meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/8 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Italian bread (crusts removed)
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk ricotta (could also use sour cream)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 3-4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

for orzo:

  • 2 cups orzo
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (homemade or favorite prepared brand)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  • diced tomato for garnish


for meatballs:

Preheat oven to 425.   In a food processor, pulse together onion, garlic, mint and parsley until finely chopped.  Add  bread and ricotta and  several times until combined.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse an additional 5-10 times to incorporate.  Take a heaping couple of tablespoons of lamb mixture and roll in the palm of your hand.  Place meatballs on a parchment line baking sheet about an inch apart.  You can prepare the meatballs in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake later.  Bake meatballs for about 25 minutes until cooked through.

for orzo pilaf:

While meatballs are baking, in a large skillet with lid (I love my enamel skillet for this), heat butter, oil, onions, garlic, tomato paste and tomato sauce on medium low heat to soften onions and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Next raise the heat to medium high, add your orzo and sauté for about 3 minutes allowing orzo to crisp a bit and absorb the flavors.  Add the stock and chickpeas to the pan and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes until orzo is cooked.  Check the pan halfway through to ensure the bottom is not browning.  Remove from heat and allow orzo to sit covered an additional 5 minutes or so.

to serve:

Garnish your pilaf with fish parsley and diced tomato topped with lamb meatballs.  Serve immediately and enjoy!