10 ounces ground chicken (1-1/3 cups)
1 tablespoon unseasoned breadcrumbs
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus a pinch for sauce
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup homemade or good quality prepared tomato sauce
cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups orzo or riso (rice-shaped pasta) (about 12 ounces)
3 cups hot chicken stock or broth
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted (optional)
Place the chicken in a bowl. Mix breadcrumbs with garlic, spices and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, depending on your taste. Add to chicken and mix well. Make walnut-size balls, using 1 tablespoon mixture for each. Put on plate. Refrigerate 5 minutes.
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and brown them on all sides, taking 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels with slotted spoon. Add green pepper to oil and saute 2 minutes over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute 3 minutes.
Heat tomato sauce in medium saucepan. If it is very thick, dilute with 2 or 3 tablespoons water. Add meatballs, cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes. Add vegetables, cover and cook 5 more minutes. Season sauce to taste with cayenne pepper.
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute, stirring often, 7 minutes. Add garlic and orzo and cook over low heat, stirring, 3 minutes. Add stock or broth, pepper flakes and oregano and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 to 18 minutes or until tender.
Fluff mixture with a fork to break up any lumps. Add parsley and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve meatballs in their sauce over or alongside orzo. If desired, top orzo with toasted slivered almonds.