Pasta con Pollo alla Genovese (Chicken Ragu)
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Pasta con Pollo alla Genovese (Chicken Ragu)

My traditional Bolognese cooks slowly over hours to build layers of flavor, perfect for a chilly, lazy Sunday. But Monday through Friday, this sauce can be made in 30 minutes and it's really good.


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 small stalk celery with leafy top, finely chopped

  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves stripped and finely chopped (about 1 tbsp.)

  • 1 fresh bay leaf

  • 2 tbsp. (a fat squirt) tomato paste

  • A few grates of nutmeg

  • ½ cup chicken stock

  • ½ cup white wine

  • 1 lb. ground chicken

  • 2 cups passata (uncooked tomato puree) or tomato puree

  • ¼ cup heavy cream

  • 1 lb. mezzi rigatoni or mezzi penne

  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing at the table


Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Step 2

In a large deep skillet, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the shallot, celery, carrot, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Add the rosemary and bay leaf. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and a little freshly grated nutmeg, then the stock and wine. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the chicken is cooked through and about two-thirds of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add the passata. Cook until the sauce begins to bubble. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until the flavors meld and the sauce is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream. Reduce heat to low.

Step 3

Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of al dente. Just before draining the pasta, scoop out about 3/4 cup of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta.

Step 4

Add the pasta to the sauce. Mix in about 1 cup Parm. Add the cooking water as needed to thin the sauce. Discard the bay leaf. Serve the pasta with more Parm.

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