Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs with Pasta Pesto

Okay, I'm really behind on my blogg because I've had so much to do this weekend. On friday me and mommsy went to a Baking and Chocolate Fair, and yes, there was A LOT of free chocolate there. We got very inspired to try out new things and felt like we just wanted to go home and spend the weekend in the kitchen! Ah, I love inspiration. Sometimes I wish I could make copies of myself just so that I could cook and bake everything I want to, wouldn't that be awesome? Yes, I would get fat, but you can't have everything now can you.
Last night, two of my childhood friends from Iceland came over for dinner. It's been very long since we last saw each other so there was a lot of wine, laughter and stories. I made them this dish and pannacotta with blackberry and lemon dressing, and the fun thing about that was that they've never had pannacotta before. Hope I did it justice....

This may not be the best photo in the world, but I hope it give you the idea on how it's supposed to be. Kind of hard to take pictures of the food with people waiting to eat it.
Chicken Meatballs.
  • 750 g chicken (breast or grounded chicken)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 dl breadcrumbs (I prefer Panko- Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 dl whole Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 dl fresh spinach, chopped
  • ½ dl sundried tomatoes - chopped
  • juice of 1-1½ lemon (depending on the size of the lemon)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 25 g fresh basil (stalks aswell), roughly chopped
  • 160 g fresh parsley (stalks aswell!), roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 dl good quality olive oil (trust me the pesto will taste completely different with good  oil)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 60 parmesan cheese, shredded
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • about 250-300 g pasta (I use small pasta shells)
How to:
Mediterranean chicken meatballs
  1. OPTIONAL: When I make this dish, I always use chicken breast. First I fry them off in a pan with a little olive oil until it's just ready, then let the chicken cool down on a plate/in a bowl. When cool, I plant myself on the couch with the chicken and a big bowl, put on a movie/episode and start shredding the chicken - or I just ask my man to do this, hehe, this is a time consuming job. The reason why I do this is because I really like the consistency when the meatballs are ready from the oven, plus, they look great, too. It's a lot of work, but if you have time, and can watch something while shredding it, it doesn't really matter does it?
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°.
  3. If you're going to make the pesto, now would be best - see below in Pesto
  4. Prepare a baking tray with a baking sheet. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, mix well. 
  5. Form into balls using your hands and place on the baking sheet. When ready, bake in the middle of the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until they turn golden brown.
  6. While the meatballs are baking, start boiling water for your pasta. Remember to add some salt so the pasta doesn't stick together.
  1. Mix everything together in a food processor. That's it. Let sit in a fridge (sealed of course) until you need it.
It's taken a lot of time and testing to get the pesto perfect. Richard has been my greatest help when it comes to this dish, because he's honest and tells me exacly what he thinks. It's important to have that kind of person to help you grow and challenge yourself to do better. Other people can point out things that you didn't even think of, that's why it's important to get other peoples opinions and feedback, that's what I think at least.
I remember when I first came across this recipe and tried it out. Oh my how we drooled! I had never made anything like it so it was new to us. I think I made this two times in that week. At first I followed the recipe 100% but the next times I made it, I experimented more.
It's not often that I follow recipes to a 100%, because I always taste myself forward. If I think there's too little thyme, I add more, if I think there is to much lemon, I add less - well you get the idea. I'm very picky on how I want my food. So many times when I follow recipes and tasted them afterwards, I get disappointed because there just isn't enough flavours to make my pallette dance and sing like it should. Very annoying.
Sometimes you have to follow the recipe to a 100% at first, especially if you're uncomfortable with the ingredients and technique, then you can simply write down what you want more of the next time you decide to make it. You'll become more comfortable with the ingredients and understand more the process and thought behind the dish, when you get to that level it will be easier to improvise and test out new flavours together, trust me, I've been there and still am in many cases.
This dish always hits the mark when we have company over for dinner. I've adjusted it to the level where I think the flavours balance out each other very nicely and are just the way I like them - and Richard of course. Enjoy!

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