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Author Notes: Sometimes I wonder if I was adopted (perhaps just wishful thinking...), because, though I have no (known) Greek blood I am drawn to cooking with Mediterranean flavors. These chicken meatballs are light, delicious, and fragrant with oregano, garlic, and lemon, and softly ooze melted feta when they are cut open. Their light green color (courtesy of spinach) is also striking. Served atop a nutty whole wheat pasta (I prefer orzo, but tonight all I had was fusilli and it turned out great), this is a great, quick weeknight meal. —chilmarkgal
Serves 4, with leftovers
For the meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken (I prefer white meat)
- 5 ounces fresh spinach
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying (if using dark meat chicken reduce to 1 T)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese
For the pasta
- 1 pound pasta (I prefer whole wheat orzo)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large strips lemon zest
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt and cook pasta until al dente. While waiting for water to boil/pasta to cook, follow the steps below.
- Process spinach, olive oil, and garlic in food processor or blender until finely chopped. Transfer spinach paste into bowl, add the chili flake, lemon juice, oregano, and feta, mix. Now add the chicken and mix until incorporated (by combining all the ingredients but the chicken in the previous step you prevent the meat from getting overworked).
- Shape meat mixture into small meatballs, about 1 heaping tablespoon per meatball. Lightly coat hot skillet with olive oil and brown meatballs over medium high heat on all sides and cook completely, this should only take about 5 minutes (maybe less, depending on the size).
- Remove meatballs from skillet, in the same skillet add the chili flakes, garlic, olive oil, and lemon zest (this is for the pasta), infuse over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the garlic is golden brown.
- Toss drained pasta with the infused oil and remaining feta cheese, add meatballs and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Meatballs