I love pumpkin in any dish, but the sweetness it brings to this twist on a traditional Bolognese is really delicious. Instead of using mince as you normally would in a pasta sauce, this recipe uses cooked and shredded chicken to speed things up and also give you a more luxurious texture. Because I don’t travel with a grater, I chop the pumpkin into small pieces to help it cook quicker, and so that some of them break down and become a part of the sauce.

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast

300g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm dice

1 onion, peeled, finely diced

1 clove garlic

400g crushed tomatoes, canned

1 chicken stock cube

2 teaspoons dried Italian herb mix

2 tablespoons milk powder (optional)

300g pasta

Method:

  1. Place chicken into a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from pot and allow to cool.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat, add pumpkin and onion, cook stirring for 3-4 minutes or until onion is softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, stock, herbs, milk powder if using, and 1 can full of water to the pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until pumpkin is soft. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Whilst sauce is cooking, use a fork to shred chicken roughly.
  5. Cook pasta of choice according to directions, drain well and add to the sauce with the shredded chicken.

Serves 3

TIPS:

  • Use a rotisserie chicken for an even quicker meal, shred meat and add to warm through the sauce
  • Adding the milk powder turns this ragu into a rose sauce which makes a nice change from the heavy tomato-based versions, it is completely optional

SUBSTITUTES:

  • Chicken or pork mince can be used in place of chicken breast. Brown mince off in the pan as you normally would for Bolognese then continue with the remaining steps
  • Canned pumpkin soup can be used in the sauce in place of fresh

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