For Your Next Chicken Parmesan, Try An Easy Meatball Twist

Chicken parmesan has cemented itself as an Italian-American staple for a reason. It's easy enough for dinner on busy weeknights, but impressive enough to serve to company.

Traditional chicken Parmesan (aka chicken Parmigiano) is built on a crispy breaded cutlet, loaded with mozzarella or Parmesan cheese and Neapolitan tomato sauce, and served on a bed of spaghetti. But, pounding, dredging, breading, and frying that cutlet shapes up to be a lot of steps, especially for the modern (aka busy) home cook, who's just jazzed to be cooking at home tonight at all. Luckily, there's a hack to speed up your prep time: Save the pounding for the pros and swap your cutlet for chicken meatballs.

This chicken-Parm-meets-spaghetti-and-meatballs-hybrid is a playful reimagination of the classic comfort food — and it'll stop your kiddos from asking, "Pasta night, again?" (As if we'd ever complain about more pasta).

Have a ball and simplify your chicken

To make your meatballs, grab some ground chicken and a few eggs as the binding agent. Thanks to meatballs' versatility in general, you can customize the flavor profile of your chicken Parmesan based on what ingredients you choose to add to your chicken meatballs. For instance, tangy, salty Chicken and Feta Meatballs combine breadcrumbs, Greek yogurt, coriander, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, mint, and lemon for a bright, complex flavor. If you prefer a richer, more faithful chicken parm adaptation, French Onion Chicken Meatballs are packed with savory grilled onions, Gruyere cheese, fresh parsley, breadcrumbs, yellow onions, and garlic.

Best of all, you can cook the chicken meatballs directly in the tomato sauce as it simmers — cutting down on steps, minimizing dirty dishes, and helping the meatballs absorb even more flavor and moisture. (We're all about a one-pan meal). If you have a tried and true red sauce recipe, feel free to bust it out. Jarred pasta sauce also works just fine to save on prep time. Frozen chicken meatballs can be found in many grocery stores, too.

To serve, garnish with freshly shaved Parmigiano and basil leaves, and serve with garlic bread and Caesar salad. Pair with a full-bodied red like Pinot Noir, or sweeter Lambrusco to keep it light. A natural orange wine would pair beautifully with this reimagined chicken parm, as well.