Mmmmmmmm…….this was good.  Another concoction thought of in the wee hours of the morning.   Pesto laden chicken meatballs in a rich, protein packed, hearty bean stew.  It would have been low carb but I just couldn’t go past the thought or molten bocconcini on crunchy toasts to mop up the sauce.  Winner, winner.


Prep time:  30  Minutes             Cooking time:  1 Hour              $$ Medium Budget


Serves 4


500gm of chicken mince

1 cup of Em’s pesto (click on link below for recipe)

1 egg

1 cup of bread crumbs

1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

6 slices of flat pancetta, diced

1 tsp of dried oregano

1 tsp of chilli flakes

2 x 400gm tins of butter beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup of dry white wine

1 punnet of assorted cherry or grape tomatoes

400ml of tomato puree

1 tsp of sugar

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Freshly grated parmesan for sprinkling

2 tbs of chopped fresh parsley

8 slices of Italian bread or sourdough

6 Bocconcini, sliced

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling


Place the chicken mince, pesto, egg and breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl and mix well to combine.


Heat a large heavy, based pan and add a little oil.  Wet your hands and using a soup spoon, scoop out rounds of the chicken mixture and shape into golf ball sized meatballs (you may need to re-wet your hands as they were sticky little suckers!).  Cook in the pan in batches until golden on both sides and place on a plate lined with paper towel.  As there is cheese in the pesto it is best to use a non stick pan if you have one.


In the same pan, add a little more oil and fry the pancetta until golden.  Remove and set aside.  Fry the onion until soft and then add the garlic, oregano, chilli flakes.  Fry for a further minute or so, being careful not too burn the garlic.  Add the pancetta back to the pan and pour in the wine.  Allow to reduce by about half before adding the butter beans, cherry tomatoes, tomato puree and sugar and stir to combine.  Season with a little salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Return the meatballs to the pan and gently spoon the sauce over them.  Pop on a lid and simmer for 30 minutes before removing the lid and allowing the mixture to reduce on a low heat for 15 minutes.


Heat your grill to nice and hot.  Cook the sliced bread in a toaster until golden and place on a lined baking tray.  Drizzle the toasts with a little olive oil and then divide the slice bocconcini between the toasts.  Place under the grill until golden and bubbling.


To serve, divide the stew between four serving bowls.  Sprinkle over chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan before finishing off with a final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Serve with toasts and a green salad or steamed broccolini.