One compliment for something I cooked is already enough to make me happy but to get three consecutive ones from the same person made me positively giddy. I was brimming with confidence to confront another challenge in the kitchen. My kitchen is the main location of a continual duel between me and the food. I'm not always the winner there. I sometimes go out of my reign with my tail in between my legs.
I had no more ideas coming on what I was going to do with the shredded boiled chicken in the fridge that I used to make the chicken stock for the chicken noodle soup. The drab looking meat staring at me didn't give me fireworks in my brain to start something for dinner.
I decided on going simple because that always works well. I took out the basic ingredients. A can of tomato sauce, a package of diced pancetta affumicata (smoked pancetta), garlic & oil. I had a normal meatsauce in mind for the pasta but instead of the usual pork, veal or beef, I had some boiled chicken to use as the meat. I was convinced that I will walk out of the kitchen disappointed.
My spirits were deflated when I added the canned tomatoes. The sauce was too pale and I was wondering if I should open another can of tomatoes or not. I was also deliberating whether to wrap everything up & order pizzas for dinner. I was getting desperate. Maybe tomato concentrate will do? I found a tube in the pantry and mixed it with water. It gave the sauce a boost in color. There was a spark of life there. Shove the emergency pizzas, something's taking shape here! I gave it half an hour to take out the flavours. Well what do you know? Persistence paid off. It looked & tasted like how pasta sauce should be. It was even delicious!
Mezze Penne Rigate with Tomato Chicken Sauce
- 200 grams ground chicken (fresh or boiled, used to make chicken stock)
- 150 grams pancetta affumicata (smoked pancetta), diced
- 400 grams canned tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 2 tablespoons tomato concentrate (diluted in 1/2 cup water)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Grated parmigiano reggiano
- Boil some water in a cooking pot to cook the pasta. When it boils, add the salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the cooking time suggested in the package lessening by a minute to make them al dente.
- Meantime, over medium heat, sautè the garlic in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil. When it turns golden, add the pancetta affumicata. Toast.
- Add the chicken. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce & tomato concentrate diluted in water. Cook for half an hour.
- Season with salt, pepper & oregano.
- Add the cooked pasta and mix with the sauce. Cook for a minute.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil & sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano before serving.