One-Pan Cheddar-Basil Turkey Meatballs with Cheesy Lemon Orzotto

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After the overwhelmingly positive response to my One-Pan Basil Chicken Meatballs with Orzotto over the past year, I knew I had to create a similar dish with a new flavor set. These dishes are so similar in composition, but so different in flavor profile and taste. The aged cheddar adds such a special, unique flavor to the meatballs and to the orzotto. It is creamy and fabulous, an absolutely stunning meal that is ready in no time at all.

One-Pan Cheddar-Basil Turkey Meatballs with Cheesy Lemon Orzotto

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup grated aged Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped basil, divided, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling. 
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed 
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • Optional: 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. 
  • Crack the egg into a large bowl and whisk lightly. Add the ground chicken or turkey, 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup basil, breadcrumbs, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Mix together until just combined, do not over-mix or your meatballs will be tough.
  • Spread oil all over a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron).
  • Use your hands to form 8 to 10 meatballs by lightly packing the meat together. Place on the skillet, not touching. Drizzle more oil over each meatball.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, until completely firm and no longer visibly pink. Place the skillet on a stovetop burner.
  • Scooch the meatballs to the outside of the skillet, you can pack them very tightly together now. In the center, stir together the stock, lemon juice, orzo, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. 
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low. Stirring often, cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and orzo is tender. Roll the meatballs over halfway through to ensure they cook evenly. Remove skillet from heat, then stir in the corn (if using), remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup basil. If needed, stir in more chicken stock to achieve a creamy, risotto-like consistency. 
  • Garnish with more basil and finish with black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges. 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup grated aged Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped basil, divided, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling. 
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed 
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • Optional: 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
Author: Caroline Chambers

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  1. Love this recipe! It was so simple to make and my picky 2 year old loved the meatballs!

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