Baked Chicken Bolognese

The students at North Carolina State University enjoy this lighter version of Bolognese, made with chicken. Bake it ahead of time for easy reheating at service. Substitute Whole Grain or Protein Plus pastas for additional nutrients.

2 lb. Barilla Ziti
1 1/3 Tbsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup olive oil
4 oz. diced carrots
8 cloves minced garlic
5 lb. canned diced tomato
1/4 oz. fresh thyme
1 1/2 lb. grated provolone cheese
3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
5 lb. chicken thigh filets
2 tsp. cracked pepper
8 oz. diced yellow onions
4 oz. diced celery
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Cook the Barilla® pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a rondo and season the chicken with 1 Tbsp. salt and the oil. Sear it until golden brown. Finish in a 350-degree oven until cooked through. Let cool and shred the chicken. Reserve the pan.
  3. Puree the onions, carrots, and celery. Heat 1/4 cup oil in the chicken pan and saute the mire poix. Season with 1 tsp salt and add the garlic. Cook until it is beginning to brown. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Stir in the wine to deglaze and let it reduce by half. Add the stock, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaves and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the chicken. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Fold in the cooked pasta and heat it to 145 degrees.
  5. Spread the pasta mixture in a 2-inch hotel pan, making the surface evenly smooth. Top it with the cheeses. Bake it at 350 degrees until hot through and golden brown.
  6. For each serving, to order: Cut out a square and reheat it as needed. Garnish with parsley.