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Chicken Ragu with Fennel

Serves 4-6

This quick and flavorful ragu makes a perfect weeknight meal!


  • 2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seed (about 1/2 palmful)
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground chicken
  • 1/2 small bulb fennel, finely chopped, plus a few tablespoons chopped fronds for garnish
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped, plus a few tablespoons chopped leaves for garnish
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or 1 additional cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1 pound egg tagliatelle or fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Stir in the fennel seed. Add the chicken and cook until browned and crumbly, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped fennel, celery, onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Partially cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the vegetables soften, 8-10 minutes. Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and half-and-half. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the ragu while the pasta cooks.
  3. Salt the boiling water, then cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving half a mug of the starchy cooking water.
  4. Stir the starchy cooking water into the ragu, then toss the pasta with the ragu and 1/2 cup of the cheese; season. Garnish with the chopped fennel fronds and celery leaves. Serve with more cheese.