These are yummy chicken meatballs with pancetta, onion, garlic and parsley, glazed with tomato paste.  Topped with the peperonata, and squeezed in between a fresh panino (your choice) or serve with a side salad, makes for a really yummy meal.

Ingredients:

Peperonata:

  • 3 red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 ½  tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½  tbsp drained capers
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • ⅛ tsp hot red pepper flakes

Meatballs:

  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ⅔ cup of milk
  • 4 oz sliced pancetta, finely chopped (I buy the ones in the package already cubed)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 lbs ground chicken
  • 3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 ½ tbsp tomato paste

Directions:

Make Peperonata:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F with racks in upper and lower thirds
  2. Toss bell peppers with 1 tbsp olive oil, then roast in a 4 sided sheet pan in lower third of oven, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 35 minutes.
  3. Stir together capers, vinegar, red pepper flakes and remaining ½ tbsp olive oil in a medium bowl and set aside

Make Meatballs while Peppers Roast:

  1. Soak breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl until softened
  2. Cook pancetta in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes, add onion and garlic and ½ tsp each of salt and pepper in a skillet over medium heat – probably for another 5 minutes. (I don’t cook the onions and garlic with the pancetta because the onions and garlic will burn).  Let cool.
  3. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, pancetta mixture, bread and milk, and parsley.  Toss together and form about 12 meatballs in a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  4. Stir together 1 ½ tbsp tomato paste and 1 tbsp olive oil and brush over meatballs.  I use a spoon then rub the mixture with my finger gently on top of meatballs. Bake in upper third of oven at 400F for about 15-20 minutes, just until cooked through.  Don’t overcook.
  5. Toss Bell peppers with caper mixture.
  6. Serve meatballs with peperonata.
  7. Enjoy!