Riccardo Momesso’s Chicken and Clove Ragù with Polenta Pasta

Serves: 6 – 8

This wonderfully aromatic pasta is really quite sophisticated and absolutely memorable. A great example of how simple yet elegant a white ragù can be.

I didn’t have the time to make the polenta pasta though I have no doubt that would even further the wow factor. Next time.

I freshly and coarsely minced chicken thigh to make the chicken mince and if you can do so, it is so much better than store bought.

Served alongside Rodney Dunn’s Leaf Salad with Anchovy Salad Cream, this was a perfect Autumn lunch.

Just add Pinot Gris or better, Pinot Noir!


1 bunch cavolo nero, trimmed, roughly cut and ribs removed (about 350gm)
60ml olive oil (1/4 cup)*
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 anchovy fillets
40gm finely grated pecorino, plus extra to serve (1/2 cup)

Polenta pasta

100gm polenta
500gm plain flour (3 cups)

Chicken ragù

60ml olive oil (1/4 cup)*
3 golden shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1kg coarsely minced chicken
1ltr dry white wine
4 cloves, cracked


  1. For the polenta pasta, bring 350ml of salted water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then add polenta in a thin, steady stream while whisking continuously until all is incorporated. Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally until the polenta is cooked and thick (35 – 45 minutes; you may need to add extra water). Spread thinly on an oiled tray, cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate to chill. Transfer polenta to a kitchen mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until smooth. Add flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (8 – 10 minutes), adding extra flour if too sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest (30 minutes).
  2. For chicken and clove ragù, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until tender (8 – 10 minutes). Add chicken and fry until juices reduce and chicken begins to brown (35 – 40 minutes). Add wine and cloves, and simmer until liquid is almost evaporated (30 – 40 minutes). Add 1 litre water and reduce by half (30 – 40 minutes). Season to taste and set aside**.
  3. Meanwhile, divide pasta into quarters and roll each out on a lightly floured surface to about 2mm thick. Cut into triangles of about 3cm and transfer to flour dusted trays.
  4. Cook cavolo Nero in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender (2 – 3 minutes). Drain, refresh and set aside. Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the garlic and anchovies and cook until starting to colour (2 – 3 minutes). Add cavolo nero, season to taste and cook until starting to colour (2 – 3 minutes). Transfer to chicken ragù and stir to combine.
  5. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of simmering salted water until al dente (1 – 2 minutes). Drain, toss with ragù, sprinkle with pecorino and serve hot with extra pecorino.

* I used extra virgin olive oil and it was fine.

** I cooked the water down further though don’t push it. The liquid is wonderful when tossed through the pasta and it really is the wow factor I referred to!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s