It’s a total delicious bomb. It’s like spaghetti and meatballs got a spring makeover – you get the comforting, satisfying, not-messing-around texture of spaghetti and meatballs with some lightness (thanks to fresh spinach and chicken) plus a little extra pop and brightness from the lemon and garlic and butter.
First: bake your meatballs. This is so easy that I will probably eventually dedicate an entire post to it. One bowl, no cutting board, just mix and roll and bake.
Then, you get your sauce going.
Sauce is a little bit of a loose term here – I would not say that this is the sauciest of all the pastas ever made, but that’s good. You don’t really want it to be. It’s meant to be light, fresh, and just saucy enough to help it all slip together effortlessly.
A sauté pan with a stick of creamy, melted Butter (always! it’s the good stuff) and a little fresh garlic, lemon zest, and some fresh greens are going to give you just enough of a shy sauce to coat all your noodles and meatballs to light, buttery, silky perfection.
Add a little splash of water or white wine (preferable!) to the pan at the end to help the butter really stick to everything and carry the flavor into every bite. And, naturally, a squeeze of lemon on top and a fancy dusting of Parmesan is necessary.
Garlic Herb Spaghetti with Baked Chicken Meatballs is SO GOOD! lots of lemon, butter, parsley, and a handful of Parmesan.
1 pound ground turkey or chicken
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional – makes meatballs more moist and yummy)
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
additional seasonings optional (I added a pinch of seasoning from What’s Gaby Cooking)
Garlic Herb Pasta:
8 ounces spaghetti, linguine, or cappellini (regular or whole wheat)
1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3–4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
about a cup of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup water or white wine (more or less as needed)
a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, and pepper to finish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the meatball ingredients until well combined. Roll into 30 small balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with oil to prevent sticking. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest. Sauté for a few minutes (don’t brown the garlic, but get the butter going so it’s a little bit sizzly).
Add spinach and parsley and cook until just wilted.
Add pasta, meatballs, and Parmesan. Toss to combine. Add water as needed to loosen it up and make it a little more creamy. Add seasoning to taste – including a final squeeze of lemon! Stand over the pot, eat forkfuls of pasta, and repeat.
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