Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hypoglycemia and my Chicken Ragù

Okay, a serious post tonight.  No joking around.  This is serious food.

Cavatelli with Chicken Ragù

You might have noticed that I have shown several pasta sauces including meat.  I love pasta, but I am severely hypoglycemic.  I was diagnosed a couple of years ago after I got extremely shaky at a cooking event.  At first I chalked it up to nerves, but later I found out that a combination of the wine I had the night before at the pre-party, the white bread I had with my dinner that same night, followed by skipping breakfast before the cook-off and the intense heat that day was a recipe for disaster.
When I have a hypoglycemic attack, I do it big.  I’ve been known to tremble uncontrollably.  I get blurred vision (dancing spots in front of the eyes).  I sometimes feel faint, and I have the occasional unexplained mood swing – the hubby just LOVES it when that happens.  

Seriously, hypoglycemia can even mimic depression in some people.  If you think you might even remotely have blood sugar issues, PLEASE, see your doctor!
Because of my condition, when I eat pasta, my doctor suggests that I include protein with the meal.  By doing so, I can even treat myself to a slice of garlic bread. 
If you’re watching your weight, you don’t want to necessarily have beef or pork with the pasta all the time.  I like to make pasta sauces with ground chicken.  Ground chicken has less than 50% of the fat of ground beef.
Even if you don’t share my health issue, you might just like a big old bowl of meat sauce. This is sure to satisfy without packing on the extra pounds.

Shave carrot with your vegetable peeler!

I never really understood the difference between Ragù and Bolognese. After doing research on several different websites, I learned that bolognese is ragù done in the “style of Bologna.” It typically includes milk, which is what I use when I normally make meat sauces, to soften the acidity. 

No milk in ragù.

Conduct a Google search on ragù and you find so many different variations.  Many of the recipes call for celery, carrot and onion.  I didn't have any celery so I left it out.  You can certainly add it here.  I shaved the carrot using my vegetable peeler. 

I used both rosemary and crushed red pepper in my recipe.  And while I like making my own sauce from scratch for freshness (plus I can control the amount of sugar added), tonight’s recipe uses a combination of fresh and store bought ingredients; perfect for a busy weeknight.  It only takes an hour to cook.  You could even put this together in the morning and then tranfer it to a slow cooker.


I selected Cavatelli because I learned from Mama Pirri that this pasta is not only great served with broccoli rabe, it also goes well with thick, hearty sauces.  Mama Pirri was correct.

With no further adieu, I bring you tonight’s healthy recipe:

Cavatelli with Chicken Ragù

½ pound Cavatelli, cooked per package directions
1 1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 large Shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves Fresh Garlic, chopped
1 medium Carrot, shaved
1 pound Ground Chicken
Pinch or two of Coarse Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
½ tablespoon dried Rosemary
1/4 cup dry or extra dry Vermouth
1 24 ounce Jar Original Red Spaghetti or Marinara Sauce
Pinch or two of Crushed Red Pepper, more or less to taste
Grated Romano, Parmesan and Asiago Cheese Blend for topping (optional)

Prepare pasta per package directions.

Add olive oil to skillet.  Add shallot, garlic and shaved carrot.  Sauté for three minutes until softened, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add ground chicken.  Brown for approximately five minutes. 

Add salt, pepper and rosemary.  Cook for one more minute.

Add Vermouth wine and let it evaporate - about one minute - scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add pasta sauce and crushed red pepper.  Simmer for about one hour until the flavors marry and the sauce thickens.  The carrot should "melt" into the sauce. 

You can cook this sauce lower and slower if you desire.  The longer, the better. 

Serve sauce over pasta.  Pass cheese at the table.

Note:  This recipe was tested using Francesco Rinaldi ® Original Traditional Pasta Sauce. 

I had never eaten this sauce before.  I purchased it as it was inexpensive, and it's been on the market for over thirty years.  I found the flavor spot-on for this dish. 

No product was supplied to blogger and not a paid endorsement.

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