orecchiette with chicken bolognese

by Amy on 14 April 2011

the weather’s getting warmer, which means that i’m shifting away from the richer, heartier dishes associated with cool weather towards the lighter, brighter meals that feel more in sync with the sun + warmth this time of year. you can never go wrong with a delicious homemade bolognese, + this version uses lean, healthy ground chicken instead of the more commonly-used beef.

this bolognese is absolutely amazing! both honey + i loved it + both went back for seconds. it has the complex flavors of a bolognese without the heaviness (or as many calories) of the traditional beef version. the leftovers the following day were scrumptious, as the flavors had developed even further. as an added bonus, sauces like this freeze really well, so it might be worth doubling the batch + freezing some for future meals. this one is a must-try, friends!

orecchiette with chicken bolognese

makes 6-8 servings, adapted from wolfgang puck


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
a pinch chili flakes
salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 – 1 pound pasta (i used orecchiette, + it took about 3/4 lb. pasta to get the perfect pasta to bolognese ratio)


heat a large saute pan over high heat. add the olive oil + heat. when the oil is hot, add the ground chicken + cook until well browned, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, + chili flakes + cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 – 8 minutes. carefully deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. reduce until the white wine is almost completely evaporated.

add the tomato sauce + juice + simmer until a thick sauce consistency, about 20 minutes. season, to taste, with salt + pepper.

cook the penne in boiling, salted water until al dente, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. drain the pasta + set aside. add a few tablespoons of the cooking water to the sauce. add the drained pasta to the sauce along with the parmesan + toss well. serve in a large bowl garnished with parsley leaves.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ellen April 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

What a great idea, I have never heard of chicken bolognese either but it looks delish. I think Ill try it one day this weekend!

2 amy April 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm

it is wonderful – let me know how it turns out for you + if you make any changes to the recipe. i always love to see the spins that readers put on these recipes!

3 Kathleen April 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm

this sounds amazing! i can’t wait to try it. thanks for sharing it!

4 amy April 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm

you are most welcome, + i love your blog – can’t wait to see more of your delicious recipes! any friend of stuffed peppers is a friend of mine. =)

5 Sandra's Easy Cooking April 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm

wow I stumbled today on you and one more blogger from Nashville…how awesome is that?
I live here for the last 13 years..
Your meal look fabulous, I love how you made it!!
Thanks so much for sharing!

6 amy April 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

awesome! there are a whole bunch of nashville food bloggers + it’s always nice to meet another one. thanks for your kind words + i can’t wait to connect more + talk food with you through our blogs. =)

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