skillet chicken parmesan meatballs in tomato cream sauce

Lately I’ve been all about skillet meals.  They tend to be fairly quick, fairly simple, and generally make use of a minimal number of dishes – always a bonus in a busy household with an infant!  These skillet chicken parmesan meatballs were a delicious addition to our skillet meal repertoire.  We loved the tomato cream sauce, and while we enjoyed them as is, they’d be equally delicious served over pasta or on a sandwich.  Annie even suggested putting them on a pizza – I love that idea!


For the sauce: 

  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, including liquid
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

For the meatballs: 

  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1½ pounds ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

To finish: 

  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 tablespoons minced fresh basil


To make the sauce, puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor.  In a large, deep skillet or saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften.  Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the pureed tomatoes.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 6-8 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, then set aside.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.

To make the meatballs, combine the panko breadcrumbs, grated onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic and egg in a large bowl.  Add the ground chicken and mix together gently until evenly combined.  Form the mixture into meatballs about 1½-inch in diameter.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the meatballs to the pan in a single layer (you may need to do multiple batches).  Cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are browned.

Once all of the meatballs are browned, place them in the skillet with the tomato sauce.  Sprinkle the mozzarella and additional Parmesan over the top.  Bake until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil.  Enjoy!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Dinner, A Love Story


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