MOZZY MEATBALLS, BUTTERNUT, AND MUSHROOM ORZO SKILLET

Ingredients

The Squash:

20 ounces butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1” dice

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

The Meatballs:

2 slices white bread

⅓ cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 pound ground chicken

1 pound ground pork

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 ¼ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil

 

The Orzo:

1 very large onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, chopped

10 ounces shiitake mushroom caps, sliced

8 ounces zucchini, cut into ½” thick half moons

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend

½ cup red wine

1 ½ cups orzo

3 cups stock

6 ounces fresh mozzarella

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Spread the squash on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Season with the salt and black pepper.  Toss to coat.  Bake the squash for 25-30 minutes, tossing once after 15 minutes, until the squash is just barely fork tender.  It will finish cooking to tender in the skillet.  Set aside.

To make the meatballs, rip the bread into small pieces and place in the bottom of a large bowl.  Cover the bread with the milk and soak for 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the bowl.  Stir to combine.

Add the ground chicken, pork, parmesan, and breadcrumbs to the bowl and knead everything together with your hands until well combined.  Do not overmix.  Take about ¼ cup of the meat mix in your hand and form a ball.  Rip off a piece of mozzarella cheese, about 1” in diameter, and push it into the middle of the meatball. Close the meat tightly around the cheese and roll into a smooth ball with your hands.  Repeat with the remaining meat and cheese.  This recipe will make 14-16 large stuffed meatballs.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the meatballs to the hot oil.  Sear the meatballs until golden brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate and set aside. Note – the meatballs will not be fully cooked through.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan drippings and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are soft and lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the zucchini to the pan and cook 2 minutes more.

Add the red wine to the pan to deglaze and stir, scraping up any brown bits until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Add the orzo to the pan and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the orzo is coated and lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the squash to the pan along with the stock.  Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Stir the orzo and add the meatballs to the pan, nestling them into the orzo and veggies.  Rip the mozzarella into pieces and push it into the orzo and around the meatballs.  Cover the pan again and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the orzo is soft and the meatballs are cooked through (160 degrees) with a gooey cheesy center.

Garnish with the parsley and serve hot with a big glass of wine, a light salad, and some crusty bread.

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