Chicken, Mushroom & Pancetta Bolognese

Bit sick and tired of the same old Bolognese?  Then you had best try this emmalicious rendition that had the whole family lining up for seconds!  Light, tender chicken mince immersed in a rich, herby, tomato sauce and an infusion of earthy mushrooms was the ultimate partner to long, slippery strands of spaghetti.  The ultimate comfort food……


Prep time:  20  Minutes     Cooking time:  Minimum 30 minutes (the longer the better)    $  Low budget


Serves 4 generous serves     (is there any other kind when it comes to pasta?)


2 tbs of olive oil

500gm of spaghetti

500gm of chicken mince

8 slices of pancetta, finely diced

1 brown onion, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic. finely minced

12 thyme sprigs, leaves removed from stalks or tied in a bundle

2 fresh bay leaves

2 large flat, field or portobello mushrooms, finely chopped

1 cup of white wine

1/2 cup of chicken stock

400gm tin of diced tomatoes

3 large tbs of tomato paste (this makes it lovely and rich)

1 tsp of sugar

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Freshly grated parmesan, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and extra thyme leaves to serve


Heat a large heavy based pan and fry the pancetta until golden. Add the olive oil and lightly fry the onion until soft and then toss in the garlic and thyme.  Fry for a further minute, increase the heat of the pan and add the mushrooms, frying until golden and then add the chicken mince.  As the mince is frying, break it up with the back of a wooden spoon so that it is a nice fine consistency.


Once the mince is browned, pour in the wine and reduce by half before adding the bay leaves, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice and sugar.  Season generously with salt and pepper before stirring to combine.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, place a lid on and allow to bubble away gently for at least 30 minutes.  As with all sauces of this type, the longer the better.  Remove the lid for 15 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce slightly.


While the sauce is simmering bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.  Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions or until al dente`.  Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the starchy liquid if your bolognese sauce is looking a little dry.  Just add a couple of tablespoons to moisten it up again.


Toss the spaghetti through the sauce and divide among serving bowls.  Sprinkle over a generous helping of freshly grated parmesan, a lug of good quality extra virgin olive oil and a smattering of thyme leaves.  Deeeeeevine!