Holy Risoni! Great balls of chicken! This dish will have you rocking and rolling all night long. These chicken meatballs infused with thyme are a lighter twist on the classic beef variety, to put plenty of vim and vigour in your step. Along with a fiery tomato sauce and pearls of risoni, this is a meal to enliven the senses.
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baby spinach leaves
To prepare the ingredients, zest the lemon and cut it into wedges. Peel and crush the garlic. Finely slice the brown onion and finely grate the Parmesan cheese. Pick the thyme leaves and wash the baby spinach.
In a large bowl combine the chicken mince, lemon zest, half the garlic and half the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Using gloved hands roll the mixture into meatballs (4-5 per person).
Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally or until browned and almost cooked through (they will continue cooking later). Set aside on a plate.
Place the same frying pan back over a medium-high heat. Add the brown onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the remaining garlic and the chilli flakes and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add in the diced tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat immediately to medium-low. Add the meatballs back to the pan and simmer, covered, for 8 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened and reduced slightly. Stir through the baby spinach until wilted and then remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of hot water to the boil. Season with salt and then add the risoni. Cook for 8 minutes or until ‘al dente’. Drain.
To serve, divide the risoni between plates and top with the chicken and thyme meatball mixture. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese, and remaining thyme. Serve with the lemon wedges.