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Penne with Chicken Ragù

Marsala is a fortified wine from Sicily that is appreciated for its distinctive, slightly sweet flavor. Sherry or any other fortified wine can be used in its place.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Marsala, sherry or other fortified wine
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) crushed plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded braised chicken (see related recipe at left)
  • 1 lb. penne or other tubular pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Prepare the sauce
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the carrots and onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until the alcohol has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the chicken and simmer until the sauce is thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al dente (tender but firm to the bite), according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve immediately, passing the cheese at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, One Pot, by Carrolyn Carreño (Oxmoor House, 2008).