If I asked my friends and family to sum up who I am in one question, it would have to be this: “You’re amazing, Lily, so why are you still single?”
And the big, million-dollar answer is always: I don’t have a freaking clue. I spent the better part of 2011 in a great long-term relationship where my boyfriend and I had mutual respect for each other, communicated easily and seemed to silently agree that we would never bring drama into our little bubble of love. It was a Unicorn relationship. One of those rare things you only hear about in movies and fairytales.
And then somehow, through absolutely no fault of my own, my Unicorn decided to become a fire-breathing hell beast and I was left without my happy ending. Instead, I became single after three years.
If you’ve ever gotten out of long-term relationship, then you know becoming single again is a lot like learning to drive with your eyes closed. It’s scary, nearly impossible and a hazard to anyone around you. In other words, it’s really, really hard. At least for me it is.
But my best friend, Cameron, promised me that 2012 was going to be my year. That it was going to be a fantastic year for all us single girls.
“And hey,” Cam added, as she dug into the dinner I made us. “At least you’re a really great cook.”
Like that was ever going to get me a boyfriend.
3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped (you can swap in Canadian Bacon if you can’t find pancetta)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.
Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.
Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan.
Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs (in my version, I used a champagne honey mustard sauce I got in Napa) , then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.