Whether these meatballs are made for a weeknight meal or a holiday cocktail party, their flavors will be a hit! Tender-textured chicken meatballs topped with pesto sauce and ricotta cheese are a winning combination that will be welcome around the holiday season!
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Stir together and work into a paste, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, breadcrumb panade, beaten egg, garlic granules, onion powder, black pepper, salt, grated Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Mixture together until all the ingredients are incorporated with no streaks or pockets of breadcrumbs.
Use a 1 oz cookie scoop (2 tbsp) to create small meatballs. Roll the meatballs between hands until they are smooth, and set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once all the meatballs are prepared, drizzle with an additional 1 ½ tbsp olive oil and place them in the preheated oven. Bake until the meatballs begin to brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, 25-30 minutes. Once baked, remove the meatballs from the oven.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta and pesto. Stir together until smooth. Remove any pooled drippings from the meatballs, which sometimes create a collar around the meatball, and place the meatballs in a 9x13 baking dish. Dollop the prepared ricotta pesto mixture over the meatballs and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the ricotta is warmed through, 12-15 minutes.
In these meatballs, it’s best to beat the egg before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. If the egg was left unbeaten, it would be rather hard to mix with everything else. So beating it outside of the mixture and then adding it is the key to success.
One of the best ways to mix together the meatball mixture is with your hands. Even though meat can feel unpleasant, hands are one of the best tools for getting an evenly mixed combination.
Adding olive oil on top of the meatballs before they go into the oven will give them additional flavor and help them roast. It’s a quick extra step that makes a big difference in both taste and texture.