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orecchiette with chicken bolognese

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

ingredients

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)

directions

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.