Baked Chicken Meatballs with Perpertonata

Baked Chicken Meatballs with Pepertonata

Peperonata:
1 Red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 Green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 Yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 Tablespoon fresh Garlic chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffanade
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons aged Balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Meatballs:
3 slices Italian bread, torn into pieces (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Accompaniment: garlic bread made from remainder of Italian loaf

Pepertonata:
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic bell peppers and rosemary and saute until onions and bell pepper are very tender, about 40 minutes. Mix in vinegar and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Make meatballs while peppers roast: Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 4 minutes.
Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.
Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan.

Stir together tomato paste and remaining tablespoon oil and brush over meatballs, then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve meatballs with Pepertonata

For a simpler dish use frozen meatballs.

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