Chicken Bolognese: Italian Meat Sauce

Chicken Bolognese represents a lighter twist on the classic Italian meat sauce traditionally made with beef or pork. This poultry-based rendition still brims with the rich, slow-cooked flavors that are characteristic of the original recipe but offers a leaner alternative that is just as satisfying. Originating from the culinary heart of Bologna, Italy, Bolognese sauce, or ragù, is a cornerstone of Italian cuisine. With chicken as the star, this variation maintains the depth of flavor by incorporating a medley of aromatic vegetables, herbs, and tomatoes that simmer together, creating a sauce that beautifully clings to the pasta of your choice.

Ingredients for Chicken Bolognese

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Pasta of your choice, cooked al dente

Cooking Steps for Chicken Bolognese

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and cook until browned, breaking it apart with a spoon. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  • Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Allow the wine to reduce by half.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Return the browned chicken to the pan.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. For deeper flavor, simmer for up to 1 hour.
  • A few minutes before serving, stir in the milk or cream and grated Parmesan cheese until well combined.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve the Chicken Bolognese sauce over cooked pasta, garnished with fresh basil and additional Parmesan cheese.

In conclusion, Chicken Bolognese is a delightful alternative to its more traditional counterpart, offering a dish that is both comforting and slightly more health-conscious. When preparing this sauce, using fresh vegetables and herbs will significantly enhance the flavor profile. Opting for high-quality ground chicken and a good dry white wine will also contribute to the richness of the sauce. The slow simmering is key to melding the flavors together, so take your time and let the sauce gently bubble away. Serve Chicken Bolognese with your favorite pasta and enjoy a meal that brings the taste of Italy right to your dinner table, with all the coziness and warmth of home cooking.

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