Lunchroom Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.
Zucchini Parmesan Chicken Meatballs with Lemon Pasta Carbonara…classic creamy Italian carbonara sauce, updated with crisp zucchini parmesan meatballs and tossed with caramelized lemon and fresh basil. Finish the pasta off with fried caper breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch. Perfect easy summer dinner, any night of the week. Everyone in the house will enjoy this dish!
If I had to choose the recipe for you to all be making this week, tonight even, it would be these meatballs. The crazy thing…and I’ve said this before, but for someone who has really avoided making meatballs in the past, I sure have taken a liking to them.
So far I’ve shared butter chicken meatballs, coconut curry chicken meatballs, sticky sesame ginger meatballs, and the very delicious and popular, Greek meatballs. Yep, a lot of meatballs, but you know something? They’re delicious, easy, and always well-loved.
Which brings me to today’s meatballs.
Side note, let’s start keeping track of how many times I say the word meatball throughout this post.
This is my end of summer meatball pasta. In keeping with the unplanned theme of the week, this is the perfect late summer meets early fall dinner. AND it’s a fun, delicious way to sneak zucchini into everyone’s meal.
They’re a simple mix of ground chicken, shredded zucchini, and parmesan. Think of the flavors you love in a really good chicken parmesan, but in the form of a cute little meatball, and with the addition of zucchini. The zucchini helps to keep the meatballs moist while baking.
Once the meatballs are formed, arrange them on a baking sheet with lemon slices. Bake until they just begin to crisp. Now add breadcrumbs and capers to the pan. Return everything to the oven and cook until the meatballs are cooked throughout and the breadcrumbs golden.
Keep the crumbs and capers together, these are the crunchy fried caper breadcrumbs I mentioned above.
Next chop the lemon slices and toss with lots and lots of fresh basil. Now toss them with the pasta carbonara.
There are a few moving steps to this, so to recap you have your meatballs, your breadcrumb topping, and the lemony basil mix to toss with the pasta. It’s all made on one sheet pan to simplify the process and keep the dishes down too.
Tip? Make your own fresh breadcrumbs with a loaf of day-old bread. Simply pulse the torn pieces of bread in a food processor, or simply tear the bread into smaller pieces. It’s so easy to do and really adds a lot of flavor to any recipe calling for bread crumbs.
While the meatballs are cooking, start the pasta.
You’ll need eggs, parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, and either spaghetti or bucatini pasta. The key to a good carbonara is to serve it right after tossing. So having everything prepped and ready to go before cooking is key.
Whisk the eggs with parmesan, garlic, and fresh basil. Boil the pasta and as soon as the pasta has finished cooking, immediately toss it with the eggs. This step is really important…but don’t worry it’s also really easy. Just be sure to toss, toss, toss for a good minute until the sauce thickens. The heat from the pasta cooks the eggs and produces the silkiest, smoothest, and creamiest pasta sauce. It’s melt in your mouth good.
At this point, toss in the lemon basil mix to add a touch more flavor.
By the time the meatballs are finished cooking, the pasta should ideally be ready too. So serve everything up immediately.
Twirl the pasta onto your plates, add those parmesan meatballs, and top with the crispy, crunchy golden fried caper breadcrumbs.
And that’s it. Not too tricky, right?
But so very delicious! And the biggest bonus? Your kids will love this too. Perfect back to school dinner…or you know…back to homeschooling dinner.
Looking for other weeknight pasta? Here are a few ideas:
Roasted Red Pepper Alla Vodka Pasta with Cheesy Oregano Breadcrumbs
Browned Butter Scallops and Burst Tomato Basil Pasta
Lastly, if you make these zucchini parmesan chicken meatballs with lemon pasta carbonara, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
I just made this for Easter dinner and it came out perfectly! I followed the directions exactly and it was amazing. Perfect flavors all around.
Happy Monday!!🌞 I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear that it turned out well for you! xx
I’m making this tonight; looks delish and it seems like it’s a quick dish (I hope).
I hope you love the recipe Barbara!!