Chicken Sausage Meatball and Broccoli Pasta Bowl

June 16, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 5 hours
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I love pasta and broccoli and when you throw in a little Italian sausage, I'm in heaven! I make a quick Italian-flavored turkey sausage for spaghetti and meatballs and thought, why not ground chicken? The meatball is a little spicy so add the crushed red pepper sparingly if you're not a heat freak. —inpatskitchen

What You'll Need
  • For the meatballs
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons granulated (ground) garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup unseasoned panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Putting it all together
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • The previously cooked meatballs
  • 2 cups chicken broth divided (1/1)
  • 10 ounces dry penne pasta
  • 5 heaping cups of small, fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan for serving
  1. For the meatballs
  2. Combine all ingredients except the oil thoroughly in a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
  3. After refrigeration, roll the mix into smallish (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Heat the oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides, in batches if necessary. Remove the meatballs to drain on paper towels. Leave the drippings in the skillet.
  1. Putting it all together
  2. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the reserved drippings in the skillet and sauté the garlic and crushed red pepper for about a minute until fragrant. Add the meatballs and one cup of the chicken broth. Turn off the heat while you prepare the pasta and broccoli.
  3. Begin cooking the penne in a large pot per package directions but add the second cup of chicken broth to the pasta water. The penne takes 10 to 11 minutes to cook. At about the 8 minute mark, add the broccoli florets to the cooking pasta and cook about 3 minutes more. While the pasta is cooking, start heating the meatballs in the skillet over medium heat.
  4. Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving a cup or two of the pasta liquid, and stir the mixture into the skillet of meatballs. Add some of the pasta liquid if needed to loosen everything up. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with the Parmesan.
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  • Molly
  • Kim Brittain
    Kim Brittain
  • glammie
  • Whats4Dinner
  • Margie

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

19 Reviews

Molly August 26, 2019
These meatballs are my husband's all-time favorite. We now just make them on their own, or to use in a traditional pasta and tomato sauce dish instead of beef meatballs. They're so flavorful, and we love the spice. Thanks for this recipe!
Molly August 26, 2019
Also, we bake the meatballs instead of frying. 350 for 20 minutes.
inpatskitchen August 26, 2019
Thank you so much Molly! We're pretty happy with them too!!!
Kim B. January 11, 2016
I made this tonight and everyone (especially the 16 year old) loved it! I doubled the recipe for the 5 of us and I had just enough for my husband's lunch tomorrow. I made pasta for everyone else and zoodles for me. It's great either way! Definitely add lass spice if you don't like it. I did approx 2 tsp for the meatballs and another 1/2 or so for the sauce (I was using a grinder and eyeballed it) and if it were any spicier the kids might not have liked it.
inpatskitchen January 12, 2016
I'm so happy all enjoyed this Kim! Thanks so much!
glammie July 10, 2015
I just got one of those spiralizer things ... I'm thinking I might try making these meatballs, and then cooking the zucchini spirals in the same pan, with some broth and then adding the broccoli -- or some variation on that theme! *lol*
inpatskitchen July 10, 2015
Sounds great! I have one of those spiralizer things also...I'll have to give it a try!
Kim B. January 11, 2016
I did it with zoodles (see above review) and I thought it was really good! I'm definitely stuffed!
Whats4Dinner February 12, 2015
Totally veganized this and what a timesaver!! I use vegan Italian sausages cut into rounds and sub veggie broth for chicken. We skip the cheese but my kids go nuts with it (they eat everything :-) )
inpatskitchen February 13, 2015
So happy your version turned out well!
Margie December 14, 2014
I LOVED this dish - time consuming at the stove cooking the meatballs, but oh so worth it. The fennel in the sausage is genius - and it was hearty and light at the same time. Thanks so much for this!
inpatskitchen December 14, 2014
Thank YOU Margie! I know what you mean about the meatballs...I wanted some browning on this, otherwise I would have baked them as I normally do with other meatballs.
nancy J. December 4, 2014
Made this last night; only had 1.5 hours to let chicken mixture sit before making meatballs and it was still delicious. I did 1.5 lbs. of chicken and increased all else except salt and cooking oil. A big hit with my home from college kids! Thanks.
inpatskitchen December 4, 2014
Thanks so much nancy! So happy your family enjoyed!
Kylie November 30, 2014
The meatballs were amazing! Maybe I didn't heat the meatballs for long enough but there was a bit too much liquid in the skillet and so the sauce was a bit runny, I'll add less water next time.
inpatskitchen December 1, 2014
Thanks Kylie! So happy you enjoyed even with a bit too much liquid in the sauce.
Jessica R. October 22, 2014
oops--also omitted the egg in the meatballs.
Jessica R. October 22, 2014
Substituted grated raw carrot for sugar, grated fresh garlic in place of granulated & omitted the fennel (for kids). Also added frozen broccoli to the meatball pan instead of the pasta pot. Delicious weeknight meal! No complaints from the toddlers=happy parents.
inpatskitchen October 23, 2014
That's what I like....Happy Parents!! Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed. Your additions and substitutions sound wonderful!