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::cooking for two:: Chicken Bolognese

This was the first of the of the PTB birthday week meals, but the last to post.  This was one of my top picks for the week, at least from the selection of new recipes (I do love me some Etouffe).  I was sad when I burned on my finger preparing it and I was told that the blister resembled a Vitamin E tab.  I was even sadder when the blister burst without me realizing, and left me with an extremely stingy open wound on my finger.  Note to future-self: have splatter guard ready when adding pancetta to pan of hot butter.

Ok!  Onto the food.  I LOVED the previous bolognese sauce I had made from the Cooking for Two 2009 Annual.  I really have yet to make a bolognese I haven’t liked, so changing it up to be chicken didn’t seem like anything could go wrong.  It was one of those meals that I knew I had to make a bit extra because we would both want “just a couple more bites”.  As usual, I had to modify the recipe.  This time I had two reasons.  #1 – no mushrooms enter our home.  #2 – Neither do sweeter white wines, so I’ll stick with something drier, thanks.

I’m sure you have noticed that I heart Muir Glen Fired Roasted Diced Tomatoes.  I have completely eliminated standard diced tomatoes from my shopping.  I like to change up the style tomato depending on the recipe.  With something that I know I am going to be adding so many rich flavors to already, I stick with the standard, no salt added.  As for butter, I want to point out that I also ALWAYS use unsalted.  if the recipe is meant to have salt, it will call for salt.  No need to over-sodiumize yourself needlessly (yeah, that’s right, I made a word).

What You Need:
10″ skillet
small food processor
6qt pot to cook pasta

Step One

1 can diced tomatoes
2/3 cup white wine
Step Two
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz Pancetta (about 5 slices), cut into 1/4″ pieces
Step Three
2 small or 1 medium carrot, minced
1 large shallot, minced
Step Four
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
Step Five
8oz ground chicken
3/4 cup whole milk
Step Six
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2-2/3 lb rigatoni (depending on how hungry you are and how saucy you like it)
grated Parmesan
This is a recipe where you have time to multitask in the beginning.  So gather your ingredients, and get the skillet on the stove!  Over medium-low heat, add the wine to the pan and allow it to simmer.  The wine needs to reduce down to about a tablespoon, so you have PLENTY of time.  This should take about 15-20 min.  Process the can of diced tomatoes until smooth and set aside.  While the wine simmers you should also have time to chop up the pancetta and mince your carrot, shallot, and garlic.

Once you have reduced the wine down to a tablespoon set it aside and add the butter to the skillet.  Increase the heat to medium high.  Once the butter has melted, add the pancetta to the pan and cook until it is nice and brown.  This is where you need your splash guard!  It should only take 2 or 3 minutes, but if you get splashed – it will HURT!  Once the pancetta is browned, add the step three ingredients to the pan, cooking until softened (~4 min).  Add step four ingredients and cook for 30 seconds.  Be sure to use the liquid from the veggies to help you scrape up any brown bits in the pan.

Add the ground chicken to the pan and break up into small pieces.  Cook it for appox. 1 minute (it can still be pink) and stir in the milk, bringing to a simmer.  You’ll want the milk to be completely absorbed into the mixture.  This should take about 10 minutes.   Use this time to break the chicken down even smaller.  I would also use this time to get your pasta going.

Almost done!  Once the milk has been absorbed completely (see image above), add the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minutes.  Stir in the processed tomatoes, and about a 1/4 tsp salt & pepper (to taste).  Bring to a simmer reducing heat and cook the sauce until it is thick (but still moist).  Add the wine and cook another 5 minutes.

This *should* have been just about perfect timing for your pasta.  Don’t forget to reserve some of your cooking water to help the pasta bind to the sauce and adjust the consistency to the perfect level for you.  Combine and split for two, topping with freshly grated parmesan.  Since I had made a bit more than was meant to be for two, I left the little bit extra in the pan so we could feel like there were those few more bites!

Serves: 2    Cost: coming soon

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