Chicken Meatballs with Baked Rotini and Spinach Pecorino Pesto
YIELD: 6 SERVINGS PREP TIME: 25 MINUTES TOTAL TIME: 50 MINUTES GLUTEN-FREE, SOY-FREE, NUT-FREE
For the Spinach Pecorino Pesto 4 cups fresh baby spinach 1 cup gated Pecorino cheese 4 cloves garlic Zest of 1 lemon 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt ¾ cup olive oil
For the Meatballs and Pasta 12 ounce package gluten-free rotini pasta 1 pound ground chicken 1½ cups frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped ¾ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs 1¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese 2 eggs Zest of 1 lemon 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2016 1. To make the pesto, in the bowl of a food processor, combine baby spinach, grated Pecorino cheese, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until a rough paste forms. Stream in olive oil with the processor running until the oil is fully incorporated and the mixture thins. Add more olive oil as needed to reach a thin consistency. Set aside.
2. Cook the gluten-free rotini pasta according to package instructions. Drain and pour into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 1-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
4. To make the meatballs, in a large mixing bowl, mix together the ground chicken, chopped spinach, gluten-free breadcrumbs, ¾ cup grated mozzarella, ricotta cheese, eggs, lemon zest, garlic powder and salt until well combined. Form the mixture into meatballs that are approximately 2-inches in diameter. Place the meatballs on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. The meatballs
will only be partially cooked at this point—do not eat. Remove meatballs from the oven and decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
5. Add the partially cooked meatballs and the prepared pesto sauce to the bowl with the cooked gluten-free rotini pasta and toss together until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of the pasta.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden on top. Serve immediately. NUTRITION PER SERVING: CALORIES: 910, FAT: 59G, SATURATED FAT: 20G, SODIUM: 1372MG, CARBOHYDRATES: 58G, FIBER: 4G, SUGARS: 2G, PROTEIN: 41G