Mezze Penne Rigate with Tomato Chicken Sauce

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

Serves 4
  • 400 grams mezze penne rigate (or other kinds of pasta)
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 150 grams pancetta affumicata (smoked pancetta), diced 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 200 grams ground chicken
  • 400 grams canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato concentrate (diluted in 1/2 cup water)
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • parmigiano reggiano, grated
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta.  When it boils, add the salt.  Add the pasta and cook according to the cooking time suggested in the package. Lessen one minute from the time, to cook them with the sauce.
  2. Meantime, over medium heat, sautè the garlic in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil.  When it turns golden, add the pancetta affumicata.  Toast.
  3. Add the chicken.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  
  4. Add the canned tomatoes & tomato concentrate diluted in water.  Cook for 30 minutes.  
  5. Season with salt, pepper & oregano.
  6. Add the cooked pasta and mix with the sauce.  Cook for a minute.
  7. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil & sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano before serving.