Chicken balls with spaghetti al-pesto

I am in the attic of this grocery store in the village of Deir el-Qamar and using their wireless internet; I mention out loud that I am thinking of spending a week in Greece later this summer; a boy of about 10 (at the most) turns around and tells me (in English)  ”  go to Cyprus, they have better beaches than Greece”; then Andrew my English cousin says ” Go to Napflion, and stay at the Palace Hotel there”.

Tonight is the Germany/England game and everybody in town is cheering for Germany; through a local friend, I got my cousin’s boys (22 and 24) choice seating at the café in the townsquare; they are going to be so overwhelmed by the loud and boisterous support for Germany, but being quintessential English and very cool, they will bear it very well.

The most popular cookbook these days in Lebanon is by an Armenian lady by the name of Anaheed; this recipe is extracted from her book and prepared by darling Eva. We have a robust basil bush growing outside by the kitchen and Eva got inspired.


  • 2 pounds of chicken breasts
  • salt, white pepper, allspice to taste
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, preferably mashed with a bit of salt in a mortar
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
  • 10 ounces of mozzarella, shredded


  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor (without the cheese) and process till pasty.
  2. Mix in the mozzarella; heat some oil in a saucepan; form the meatballs and fry until cooked, about 5 minutes.
  3. Serve with spaghetti al-pesto.

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  1. Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    A yummy dish! That is one perfect combo!



  2. Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    This looks more like a Chinese fried noodle to me. Sounds easy and yummy!

  3. Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    what a creative way to use basil leaves…I have some in my garden right now….

  4. Posted June 27, 2010 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Have fun at the match!

  5. Posted June 27, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Fabulous meal! And glad to hear that everybody is in the football spirit. Serve me up a plate of these chicken balls and pasta al pesto!

  6. Posted June 27, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Your take on spaghetti and meatballs looks fantastic – healthy too! Enjoy your travels wherever they may bring you!

  7. Posted June 27, 2010 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    According to the title I thought “chicken balls” would be smaller than than! Sorry I couldn’t resist :D
    Kidding aside, these look great and would be easy to whip up. Perfect for munching on while watching football! My basil is looking a little sorry, now my rosemary is another story.

    Should be interesting for your cousins, have fun!

  8. Posted June 27, 2010 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The chicken balls sound delicious with mozarella. I make them very often without the cheese and bake them in the oven and they sound wonderful with the pesto.
    What a coincidence. We go to Nafplion very often as it is my favourite place in Peloponese. We spent part of our vacations there last year both in Nafplion and Tolo and we are also planning to visit again this week.

  9. Posted June 27, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    These and your travels sound and look amazing.

    Safe Travels

  10. Posted June 27, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I saw another recipe with chicken meatballs recently and I am so inspired to try them after seeing this recipe! They sound perfect with the pasta and pesto.

    Good luck to your eardrums and favorite team tonight ;)

  11. Posted June 27, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I just love non-re meat meatballs. With herby goodness they are lighter and so nummy… Love the basil and mozzarella combination and anything I can toss in the processor and be ready to go and I am a happy camper!

  12. Posted June 27, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    lovely recipe,would love to try it soon…

  13. Posted June 27, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    très appétissantes ces boulettes qui accompagnent à merveilles l’assiette de pâtes
    bonne soirée

  14. Posted June 27, 2010 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I like your cheesy chicken balls..I am bookmarking it to try.

    Now I am ready for the match between Mexico and Argentina!


  15. Posted June 27, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I am really enjoying following your travels and all your recipes, great photos too!

  16. Posted June 27, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Mmm, this looks so tasty and comforting! Hope you enjoy the game!

  17. Posted June 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny all these travel tips; I wonder where you’ll end up. Your pictures and recipes are always so fresh and inspiring. I love pasta and the colours in this one. We’re expecting a heatwave from tomorrow so not having the oven on too much seems like a priority and I’d rather make this.

  18. Posted June 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I would love to have this pasta with balls, now! I was preparing some salads (for the press) for the whole day but I miss sth warm and meaty…:)
    Have a nice evening.

    P.S. I do not watch Mundial. I do not like football….

  19. Posted June 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got a huge basil plant growing on my patio…can’t wait to make this! I love the idea of chicken balls; I make turkey balls pretty often but never chicken, so I’d love to make it!

  20. Posted June 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Funny how every village now has wireless. Love the story of the little boy!

  21. SYLVIA
    Posted June 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Joumana, I am sure your cousins boys are thrilled that Germany won, the game was high paced and exiting. There’s nothing better than watching the game with friends, cheering, and chowing down on some tasty food This dish is simple and satisfying, and it will cook easily and entertain the my guests while I am watching soccer, chicken meatballs are a perfect complement for the pasta, I liked how you added the cheese, and that’s oozing out of the meatballs. Anaheeds name is popping up in the food world everywhere, and has series of cookbooks. Thank you Eva and Joumana, for your entertaing recipes.

  22. Posted June 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    This recipe is a “must try” for me. Looks absolutely delicious. Thanks for sending along the recipe.

  23. Posted June 27, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful dish, I’m always looking for new and interesting ways of using ground chicken :)

  24. Posted June 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Oh je vois que tu as trouvé des recettes de pâtes pour ton papa :o) aucun doute qu’il va adorer ces spaghetti!

  25. Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Those chicken balls look scrumptious!

  26. Posted June 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    You must be on Holiday. How nice. It sounds wonderful.
    The meatballs look delicious, I could use a plate of this RIGHT NOW!
    Have a wonderful time!

  27. Posted June 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a great meal! I’ve always dreamed of going to Greece. I’ll be interested in hearing more about your travels.

  28. Posted June 27, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    a delicious and healthy chicken dish!

  29. Posted June 28, 2010 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    lovely combination :)

  30. Posted June 28, 2010 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    Sounds easy to make. Good inspiration for me :)

  31. Posted June 28, 2010 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    Let me just give you some numbers to have an idea about Greece’s beaches. The country has the 10th longest coastline in the world(14.880 km) and has 1,400 islands. As you can understand the alternatives are modetately numerous. There are beaches for all tastes. If you wish I can suggest to you a few I consider to be among the best we have. Nafplion is a very beautiful city (it was the first capital of Greece after the country’s liberation from ottoman empire) but its beach is not considered to be on of the best. Anyway back to food, I have never tried chicken balls but I love chicken and they look very tempting.

  32. Posted June 28, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    Tempting and great looking meal..

  33. Posted June 28, 2010 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    We love meatballs – and I rescued my basil (I hope) from the cold damage of last week…. I can make these! Great recipe! Germany won….. but you know that!

  34. Posted June 28, 2010 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Amazingly simple recipe to make, Joumana! And it looks delish. Loving your travels!

  35. Posted June 28, 2010 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Delectable dish Joamana! apparently, vacation doesn’t stop you from cooking, huh? I like that.

  36. Posted June 28, 2010 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Tough match for England. Is it just me, or has this been the most poorly officiated World Cup in ages?

  37. Posted June 28, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Loving the addition of the chicken for more protein. This is a fun way to enliven my regular pesto. The travel tips are a hoot.I wish I coiuld guide you to the best beaches in Greece!

  38. Posted June 28, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I watched the game between Germany and England. Dang, Germany killed them! They really are so good, and powerful. Probably because they eat such great food!

  39. Joumana
    Posted June 28, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I will have to ask the Will and Nick, the English cousins; they watched the next match with Argentina and now are watching yet another; I have better things to do (like blogging)

  40. Posted June 28, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Recently, I made similar meatballs. I posted them not yet!! I so love this tasty meat balls & pasta!

  41. Posted June 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    chicken balls and spaghetti looks delicious..yummie..

  42. Posted June 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    i enjoy meatballs and i enjoy chicken so there’s no reason to think that i wouldn’t love this meal. those patches of mozzarella would be particularly terrific. :)

  43. Posted June 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    That sounds and looks really good.. will try it :)

  44. Posted June 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Something new and tasty to serve with pesto.

  45. Posted June 29, 2010 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    YUM. By the time I get home from my travels, my basil bush should be able to support making this tasty looking meal. Pesto pasta has always been a favorite with the kids, and who doesn’t like meatballs? – S

  46. Posted June 29, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Quite a contrast in images from the ancient village to the modern city at sunset! Love this recipe. Sounds easy and tasty and different. Who ever has enough meatball recipes? Not me!

  47. Posted June 29, 2010 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Nice simple one dish meal especially when you are using freshly picked basil from the garden for the pesto!

  48. Posted June 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Joumana…forget the travel advice you’ve been given…here’s my tip:
    A few years ago I went to the island of Naxos which I enjoyed very much. However…I found paradise on a little island of 200 habitants called ‘Koufonissi’…a 20 minute boat ride from lively Naxos. You’ll never forget the diamond waters and the warmth of its people. I would return any time ;o)

    Thanks for keeping up to date with your great tasty recipes.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  49. Posted July 1, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Now where have I heard of Anahid? The fatafeat channel maybe?
    It’s so wonderful how you keep up with your blogging while you’re traveling & help us discover all these simple yet wonderful recipes.
    Enjoy the Germany-Argentina match tomorrow!

  50. Posted January 18, 2011 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    The fatafeat channel maybe?

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