Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chicken Florentine Meatballs with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Okay, have we all seen the movie 'Up'?  Do you remember the dog, Doug?  Well, I am feeling like him today, with a serious case of Attention Deficit Disorder.  I was sitting here, trying to write this post, thinking about how the recipe started as a little spark in my mind, where the ingredients added themselves one by one until they formed a little cyclone swirling in my head.  Then, I realized that TBS was playing a rerun of The Big Bang Theory that I have never seen.  Ooohh!  An unseen episode!  As I tried to tear myself away to begin writing, one of those really cute AT&T commercials came on with the little girl talking about how faster is better because you need to be fast to not get bitten by a werewolf.  Those commercials crack me up!  Oh, that's right I need to write this post.  Squirrel!

It's bad, I tell you!  I'm not usually like this, but tonight I just can't seem to keep one train of thought for more than 2 seconds.  Well, at least The Big Bang Theory is over, but wait, I haven't seen this King of Queens either.  And, hey, was that the sound of new email on my phone?  Squirrel!

You know what's sad, I don't even really like King of Queens, so why am I letting it distract me?  Who knows!  But, before I completely forget my purpose tonight, I am going to give you your Cast of Characters.

Since there are quite a few ingredients, I'm going to break them down into the meatballs and the sauce.

For the meatballs:
2 Lbs. ground chicken
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1/2 Cup milk
1 1/2 Cups bread crumbs
2 Cups shredded Parmesan cheese (I used the bag variety for something quick)
2 Tsp. minced garlic
1 Tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tsp. Lawry's season salt
1 Tsp., each, McCormick's Perfect Pinch Tuscan seasoning and nutmeg
1/2 Tsp. McCormick Perfect Pinch Sicilian seasoning
2 Cups fresh baby spinach

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 Box sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 Cup chicken broth
2 Cups fat-free half and half
2 Cups reserved pasta water
1 Tsp. Lawry's season salt
1/2 Tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tsp. McCormick Perfect Pinch Tuscan seasoning
1/4 Tsp. nutmeg
1 Cup Italian blend cheese

Put a large pot of generously salted water on medium heat.  Rough chop the spinach.

In a large mixing bowl, add all the meatball ingredients.

Mix well, it's best if you use your hands - a spoon just doesn't seem to do the trick as well.

In a large skillet, drizzle generously with olive oil - turn heat to medium-high.  Splash a little oil on your hands, and form golfball size meatballs.

Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.  Roll the meatballs over, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

While meatballs are cooking for the second 10 minutes, bring salted water to a boil.  Add your favorite hearty pasta, such as buccatini, linguine or fettucine.  When meatballs have 5 minutes left on the timer, add the sliced mushrooms.  Replace the cover.

When timer has gone off, remove meatballs to an oven-safe pan, and place in an oven at 300 degrees.  Saute mushrooms with butter for a couple of minutes.

Next, add the flour, stirring constantly to keep roux from burning.

Cook just until roux is a golden color, about a minute or so.  Add seasonings, broth, and half and half.
Stir well to prevent lumps forming.

Add reserved pasta water and Italian blend cheese.

Add meatballs back in, cover and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Once sauce has thickened up, serve over warm pasta.