Love this combination of flavors and a little bit lighter than using beef.  The addition of ricotta helps to prevent the meatballs from being too dry.  This is delicious with a little red sauce and best served over rice or pasta.  The tangy sun dried tomatoes are a great combo with the spinach.


for meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 2 large egg yolks, gently beaten
  • 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil and parsley
  • 1 thick slice Italian bread (crusts removed)
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

for vodka tomato sauce:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 24 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1 large bunch basil, leaves torn, plus extra for garnish
  • kosher sat and pepper to taste


for sauce:

Heat olive oil and butter on medium heat.  Add onions and garlic sauté for several minutes on medium low until translucent and fragrant.  Add tomatoes, bayleaf, torn basil leaves and vodka.  Season with salt and pepper and oregano.  Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover and lower heat allowing sauce to cook down (at least 20 minutes, but a couple of hours is even better as it enhances the flavor of the sauce)

for meatballs:

Prepare your meatballs while sauce is simmering.  Preheat oven to 425.  UsIn a small bowl, combine milk and bread and allow the bread to soak up all the liquid.  Place all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with your hands to incorporate all the ingredients and get then well distributed.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll a heaping tablespoon of chicken meatball mixture in the palm of your hand into a ball and place on prepared sheet about 1 inch apart.  The mixture will be moist. You can prep the meatballs to this point and refrigerate them until you are ready to bake if needed.   Bake the meatballs for about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to red sauce.  Allow meatballs to stew in sauce on low uncovered for an additional 20 minutes. Garnish sauce with plenty of fresh basil.  Serve over pasta or rice.