Nothing says warm weather to me like the light, bright, citrusy flavor of lemon. And who doesn’t love meatballs? A few weeks ago, as the weather started to warm up, I was in the mood for some “comfort” food, but I wasn’t looking for traditional meatballs… I wanted something a little more “summery”…. Maybe something with those lemony hints and lots of fresh green herbs…. So then I decided to make a lighter meatball with ground chicken instead of beef, and a creamy sauce with just the right hint of citrus… The answer was what I now refer to as my Summer Meatballs and Lemon Fettuccine.
I’ve listed the ingredients separately because you can definitely serve just the pasta when you are in a hurry and want something very quick but also elegant (about 20 minutes start to finish!). You could also use the meatballs in your favorite standard red spaghetti sauce for a lighter version of spaghetti and meatballs. Or, make the meatballs, simmer them in the sauce for a few minutes, and serve as an appetizer.
So that the meatballs aren’t too dry, but still healthy, I mix one pound lean ground chicken breast with one pound regular ground chicken (you could also use ground turkey). This makes a lot of meatballs, so I cook all the meatballs, and then serve half and freeze the other half for next time.
- 1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
- 1/2 cup (firmly packed) finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup (firmly packed) finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- Cooking oil
In large bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, and milk with fork. Add garlic, onion, basil, parsley and lemon zest and stir. Gently stir in chicken (you don’t want to overwork the mixture.)
Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Use about 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture to make meatball by gently forming a ball with your fingertips and place in pan. You can also form the meatball on a large spoon and gently push mixture off spoon into pan. (The mixture will be soft and can’t be rolled like a traditional meatball.)
Turn meatballs every few minutes so that they brown on all sides. Continue to cook until cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes.) Remove meatballs to bowl or plate and keep warm. Continue cooking meatballs in batches until all of the meatballs are done. Keep meatballs warm while preparing pasta. (Makes about 5-6 dozen small meatballs.)
- 1 pound package fettuccini
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from about 1/2 lemon)
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley for serving
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese for serving
Prepare fettuccini al dente according to package directions.
While fettuccini is cooking, place cream and milk in skillet over medium heat. Wisk in lemon juice and lemon zest. Simmer over medium heat about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain pasta. Stir into sauce. Add meatballs and toss. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes until heated through.
Place pasta and meatballs on plates. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.
Makes about 6 servings.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! I love your comments :)
WOW! CNT WAIT TO TRY THIS WITH CHICKEN BREASTS I HAVE IN MY FREEZER, LOVING LEMON THIS SEASON
Oh this looks absolutely delicious! What a great twist on meatballs, would have never thought to put them in an alfredo. Pinning to try asap!
Thanks, Sherri! Let me know how it turns out :)
Do you cook the alfredo sauce in the same skillet that you cooked the meatballs?
Yes, you can use the same skillet. Just remove the meatballs and place them someplace where they will stay warm.
This looks amazing. Can you substitute ground turkey?
I’ve made it lots. I’m going to cook up some Lemon Chicken and use instead
of meat ball.. The Recipe is so yummy I think you could be wood chip and still be great.!
Can you freeze the meatballs
Just going through your summertime recipe’s, and these items are going on my grocery list. You have made me starving with this one. ?????
This recipe is absolutely wonderful! Every time I have brought up ground chicken my husband turned up his nose. I finally convinced him we had to try this recipe. We now have this about once a month. It’s delicious!
One note to add to this…I’ve found that every time I add the lemon juice to the cream mixture, it almost instantly turns to water consistency. From everything I’ve read on the internet, it should curdle, but my experience is that it turns runny. I add Parmesan cheese to it to thicken it up, but it’s never as thick as when I started. I’m going to skip the milk next time and use all heavy cream to see if that makes a difference.