For a healthier and leaner alternative to red meat but still made in authentic Italian fashion, try this Chicken Bolognese. Slow simmered with vegetables, herbs and white wine and finished with fresh basil and heavy cream, this sauce is full of flavor and is sure to become a family favorite.
Before we get to the recipe, here are a few tips for making perfect pasta. Sufficient water is key. For a pound of spaghetti, you need at least 5 quarts of water. Using too little water will result in the pasta sticking together during cooking. Bring the water to a boil, then add 1 tablespoon of salt. Adding salt to boiling water obviously helps flavor the pasta, but there is another reason for adding salt: It increasing the boiling temperature capacity so that the pasta can cook faster for optimal texture. Next add the pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente. You may need to test a noodle a couple of times. Perfect pasta should be slightly chewy, never mushy. Do not add oil the water, it will keep the sauce from adhering to the pasta. For the same reason, do not rinse the pasta after draining it. This will get rid of the starch, which helps the sauce stick to the pasta. Only rinse pasta if you’re making a cold pasta dish. Serve immediately with the sauce.
- 2 tablespoons butter (vegan: use vegetable spread such as Earth Balance)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground chicken (vegetarian/vegan: use 1 cup TVP)
- ½ cup dry white wine (such as vermouth)
- 2 cans (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup strong chicken stock (vegetarian/vegan: use vegetable broth)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup heavy cream (vegan: use vegan whipping cream such as Soyatoo or use soy milk powder with half the water)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (vegan: use vegan Parmesan cheese substitute such as Parma)
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lb (500g) spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Heat the butter and oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the chicken and cook, breaking up the pieces, until there is no pink remaining, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, increase the temperature to high, and boil for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and their juice, the chicken stock, parsley, rosemary, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, uncovered, until the sauce has slightly thickened. In the last 10 minutes, add the cream, Parmesan cheese, and basil and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve on top of the cooked spaghetti and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
- Note: This sauce tastes even better the next day. It can be made up to 2 days in advance. It freezes well.
Drew Hall says
Never add oil to your pasta water as it will prevent the sauce from coating your pasta
Graham Forbes says
Two big tips here and I am not Italian:
1. When the water boils and you want to add the pasta, first add 1/2 teaspoonful of olive oil to the boiling water, stops any sticking.
2. Boil the water and add pasta when the water is at boiling point. Time exactly 11 minutes and remove the pasta (now separate because 1. above).
Ren Brown says
I found this needed to cook longer to have the flavors blend and the tomatoes to lose their acidic bite. I also added them, grated nutmeg and some crepe franchise. It was being served over creamy polenta which had a lot of Parmesan, so skipped that as well. Pretty yummy!