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Chicken Ragu

When I saw the title of this recipe while flipping through a Giada De Laurentiis cookbook, I had to giggle a little bit. I reverted back to the fact that up until a few years ago, ragu meant the jarred sauce. One of the things that I love about Giada’s Family Dinners is the fact that under every title is a brief explanation of the dish. Allow me to impress you with my knowledge of a ragu. 

A ragu is a meat-based sauce that is placed over pasta. The meat is added to a mixture of onion, celery, and carrot (called a soffritto) in addition to tomatoes and other seasonings. Oh, how far I have come from my original thoughts of what a ragu is.

As I read through the recipe, I knew that it would be something that we could all enjoy. I really don’t like Italian food very much, but the recipe even called for a quick marinara sauce which I knew would be perfect for me to dip from. A visit to the pantry and I knew that I would be making this meal before the week was up as I had everything that I needed on hand. I love how quickly the marinara sauce came together, living up to its name. It tasted absolutely delicious with my bread sticks.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 4 cups Marinara Sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the juices evaporate and the chicken is golden, about 10 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the rosemary and mix well. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Add the linguine to the ragu and toss to coat, adding some reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Marinara Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Source: Giada DeLaurentiis, Family Dinners, Food Network

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