Notes: Garbanzo beans or white beans can be substituted for the kidney beans.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 ounces pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 12 ounces ground chicken thigh meat
- 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 (14-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (see note)
- 3 cups low-sodium homemade or store-bought chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) small pasta (such as shells or elbow macaroni)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Parmigiano-reggiano for serving.
In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil and pancetta over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until pancetta is cooked and crispy, about 5 minutes.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, onions, and bay leaf to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, broth, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and chili flakes.
Increase heat to medium high and bring to high simmer. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in parsley, and serve with grated parmesan.