This classic meat sauce of Bologna, Italy—dating back to the 5th century—is a great one-pot wonder to feed a large group. I’ve substituted ground chicken for the more traditional pork and beef as a healthy alternative. It can also be frozen in small amounts for quick thaw dinners on days when you’re in a rush to get dinner ready but still want something healthy.
- 3 pounds ground Smart Chicken (or Smart Chicken fresh sausage, casings removed, for a spicier sauce)
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 3 cups whole milk (or skim)
- 48 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Shaved Parmesan cheese
- 3 pounds dried pasta, such as orecchiette, fusilli, or farfalle
In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add vegetables, garlic, and chili flakes and sauté until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken, breaking up with the back of a spoon; sauté until the chicken is cooked through. Add milk and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk has almost completely evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes, and continue to simmer for about 1 hour or until the sauce becomes thick. Season with salt and pepper.
While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to directions on the package.
Finish this sauce by adding freshly chopped parsley and oregano and serve over hot pasta. Top with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.
Pairing: Barbera d’Alba