Crimini Ragu with Spinach Crostini and Chicken Ragu with Whole Wheat Pasta

Total Time:
44 min
20 min
24 min

4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound whole-wheat or whole-grain rigatoni or other short cut pasta
  • 1 loaf crusty bread, bakery sliced (baguette or ciabatta)
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, wiped clean
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, a couple thick slices, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 pound chicken thighs, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Marsala, a couple glugs
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
  • Couple handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • Few grates nutmeg or a pinch of ground
  • 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • Splash heavy cream
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Handful basil leaves, torn
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook to al dente, drain and keep warm.

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Scatter sliced bread on baking sheet, toast until crisp but not too dry, 6 to 8 minutes.

  • Quarter mushrooms. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Once the mushrooms have started to brown add 3 to 4 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • While mushrooms cook, begin chicken ragu. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Brown the pancetta 3 to 4 minutes then add chicken and brown evenly 5 to 6 minutes. Add the onions to the chicken. Grate the carrot and stir in with the rosemary, bay and a couple of cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft.

  • Add the Marsala to chicken and vegetables, stir and reduce a minute then add tomatoes and crush with wooden spoon. Simmer a few minutes to thicken and combine flavors.

  • When the mushrooms are tender, season with salt and pepper. Chop the spinach coarsely then stir in to wilt. Add in a few grates of nutmeg, stir in vinegar then a splash of cream. Transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl and serve with toasted bread for topping.

  • Toss the pasta with the chicken ragu and cheese. Garnish with some torn basil and serve immediately.

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