This recipe is a different take on the standard “spaghetti with meatballs” dish that everyone is familiar with. Bucatini is basically hollow spaghetti, and adds an interesting texture. The herbed chicken meatballs are a fresh spin, and are delightful with the homemade tomato sauce. I hope you’ll try this dish!
2 28-oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1 lb (uncooked) bucatini pasta
1 lb ground chicken
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese (about 2 1/4 oz)
1 3/4 cups fresh white bread crumbs (about 3 slices, crusts removed)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
To make the sauce, place the tomatoes and their juice in a large bowl. Vigorously squeeze tomatoes with your hands until no large chunks remain.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and bring to a good boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour (stirring occasionally).
Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs by combining the ground chicken, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, egg, parsley, sage and salt in a bowl. Combine well (I use my hands). Form small balls from the mixture, occasionally dipping your hands in a separate bowl of warm water, as the meat mixture can become very sticky to work with. Cover meatballs with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan. Saute the meatballs until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
Add the meatballs and basil to the tomato sauce, and simmer uncovered on low for an additional 15 minutes. Serve over bucatini pasta that has been cooked according to package instructions. Garnish with some chopped parsley and grated parmesan.