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Crimini ragu with spinach crostini and chicken ragu with whole wheat pasta

  • Preparation Time20 mins
  • Cooking Time24 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy
450g wholemeal or whole-grain rigatoni or other short cut pasta
1 loaf crusty bread, bakery sliced (baguette or ciabatta)
450g crimini mushrooms, wiped clean
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled
115g pancetta, a couple thick slices, finely diced
750g 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) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook to al dente, drain and keep warm.

2) Heat oven to 180C/Gas 4.

3) Scatter sliced bread on baking sheet, toast until crisp but not too dry, 6 to 8 mins.

4) Quarter mushrooms. Heat 3 tbsp 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.

5) While the mushrooms cook, begin the chicken ragu. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Brown the pancetta 3 to 4 mins then add chicken and brown evenly for 5 to 6 mins. 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.

6) 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 flavours.

7) 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.

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

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