Baked Chicken Bolognese
North Carolina State University
Bolognese is typically made with beef, veal and/or pork but chicken lightens up the dish. The recipe calls for more cost-effective thigh meat, which many chefs prefer for its deeper flavor. To ease execution, the ziti can be cooked in advance and refrigerated for several hours. Then the dish can be baked ahead and reheated for service. It adapts well to takeout and delivery, as the ingredients travel well.
2 lb. ziti
¾ cup olive oil, divided
5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/3 tbsp. kosher salt, divided
8 oz. yellow onions, diced
4 oz. carrots, diced
4 oz. celery, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato paste
½ cup wine
1 cup chicken stock
5 lb. canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
¼ oz. fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1½ lb. provolone cheese, shredded
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley
1. Cook ziti for half the time directed on package; drain and drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in ziplock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
2. Heat ½ cup olive oil in a rondo; season chicken with 1 tablespoon salt and add to hot oil. Sear chicken on all sides until golden brown. Finish in a 350 F. oven until cooked through. Let chicken cool; shred chicken and reserve the pan.
3. In food processor, puree onions, carrots and celery. Heat 1/4 cup oil in chicken pan and saute onion mixture until tender. Season with 1 teaspoon salt; stir in garlic. Cook until mixture begins to brown. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine to deglaze pan and let it reduce by half. Add stock, tomatoes, pepper, thyme and bay leaves; simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Remove bay leaves and stir in shredded chicken. Simmer 15 minutes longer. Fold in cooked pasta and heat to 145 F.
5. Spread pasta mixture in a 2-inch-deep hotel pan, smoothing the surface evenly. Sprinkle provolone and Parmesan cheeses on top. Bake at 350 F. until hot through and golden brown.
6. For each serving, to order: Cut out a square and reheat it as needed. Garnish with parsley.
Photo courtesy of Barilla