Polenta with Meatballs

This creamy polenta with ricotta chicken meatballs and tomato sauce is a perfect, warming winter recipe that's sure to be your new favourite cozy dinner.



For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground chicken (dark meat prefer, or a mix)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar of marinara sauce

For the polenta:

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta (not instant)
  • kosher salt, to taste (about 1 to 1 1/2 tsps total)
  • 1/4 cup half and half cream (10% cream)
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • fresh basil, torn (for garnish)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish


For the meatballs

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a large bowl combine the chicken, ricotta, garlic, egg, panko, parsley, salt and lemon zest. Mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, portion out the meat mixture into round balls, about 2 1/2 to 3 tbsps per ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet.
  4. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to a broil (on high) and bake for two to three minutes, until browned and cooked through.
  5. When the polenta is cooking, heat up the marinara sauce in a large pan, over low heat. Add the meatballs during the last few minutes to warm through.

For the polenta:

  1. Pour the water into a dutch oven or medium sized pot and turn on high heat. After a few minutes, sprinkle in the polenta while whisking constantly to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently with a whisk. Let the polenta boil just until it's thickened slightly and the polenta starts to spit.
  2. Immediately reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula and scraping the bottom of the pot. Cook until the polenta is thick and pulls away from the sides, about 40-50 minutes total.
  3. With about 10 to 15 minutes remaining on the polenta, pour in the cream and stir to combine.
  4. When the polenta is done cooking, stir in the butter. Season with salt and enjoy right away.
  5. If the polenta thickens too much, just add a splash of water and stir over low heat.
  6. Divide the polenta into bowls and top with meatballs and fresh basil. Garnish with parmesan cheese and enjoy!