November 30, 2010

Linguine with Chicken Ragu

This is one of my favorite cookbooks. Sadly though, it's been tucked away in a bookcase in the back hallway and practically forgotten. I think it's been sitting there, unopened, since we moved in to this apartment almost a year and a half ago! I recently re-discovered this little treasure when I was craving a quick and simple meaty pasta sauce and remembered about a chicken ragu recipe in this book. 

On some level, I think Giada and I are kindred spirits. I know! Sounds crazy and creepy but let's look at the facts: She's Italian - I love Italy; She grew up in LA - I grew up in LA; She attended UCLA - I attended UCLA; She majored in Anthropology - I MAJORED IN ANTHROPOLOGY. And we both love all things food and cooking related. Coincidences? I beg to differ. And if you know me at all, you know I have a borderline unhealthy addiction to pastas of all shapes and sizes (except maybe macaroni & cheese...).


So here's the recipe. Go make it. It's delicious and easy - doesn't involve any fancy ingredients or complicated techniques. Make a double pot even, and freeze it in small portions so you'll always have a hearty dish on hand. Just boil up some pasta and dinner is served!

Linguine with Chicken Ragu*
6 main-course servings

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups marinara sauce
salt & pepper
1 lb dried linguine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped chicken and cook until the juices evaporate and chicken is golden, about 10 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic and rosemary 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 marinara sauce. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the flavors blend, at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour, slightly covered.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook, stirring often to prevent pasta from sticking together, until tender but firm to the bite (look at package instructions for timing). Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Add the linguine to the ragu and toss to coat, adding some reserved cooking liquid to moisten if necessary.
  • Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve.

* A traditional ragu uses less popular/less tender pieces of meat and is slowly cooked for a long period of time to tenderize the meat and develop flavors. In this recipe, Giada uses chicken thighs to mimic the rich flavor while drastically cutting down the cooking time.

Get the book for more simple and delicious meals. Her other cookbooks are also fantastic.

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