Wouldn’t you want to come home and to find that the house smells of this amazing Venetian Chicken Ragu? All you need is to load up your slow cooker and press ON!
Include this ragu as the centrepiece of an Italian feast with the help of our Italian Recipe Collection!
We all love eating a fantastic meal without having to spend hours in the kitchen or over a hot stove. Sometimes it’s a real treat to just throw the ingredients together and let it be until it’s time to eat and enjoy.
Times that that are when I’m thankful for my slow cooker or Instant Pot. Put the right ingredients in, give it time to do the work, and a truly fantastic meal is ready on the other end!
Starting your slow cooker in the morning is a great way to enjoy a fuss free dinner in the evening. This recipe is a great example of a slow cooker recipe that makes the most of your kitchen equipment.
There is not a lot of work that needs to be done before you can leave the slow cooker to do the hard work. The only downside is that you have to live with the most seductive smell travelling through your house until it is time to eat!
If you are familiar with Italian ragu sauces, you will be doing a happy dance right about now! Although we usually think of making ragu with beef, this recipe is boasting inexpensive chicken thighs without any compromise on flavour.
This Venetian Chicken Ragu is my interpretation of the Italian classic. Traditionally made with duck legs and served with thick pappardelle pasta, this ragu is as robust as the beef version.
This dish is absolutely perfect for cold winter nights served with some good crusty bread to mop up the rich sauce. Just add a simple salad and you’ve got yourself a great meal, one you wouldn’t be embarrassed to serve at a dinner party!
Making the ragu
I’ve adapted my recipe to the modern reader and used skinless, boneless chicken thighs. It is perfect for the slow cooker to make preparation as easy and convenient as possible.
There are two steps before the slow cooker is ready to be turned on. First involves building a base of flavour with oil and most of the vegetables. Then add the prepared chicken, red wine and chopped tomatoes and leave the slow cooker to do the hard work!
This recipe makes quite a bit, so freezing leftovers is one of my favourite things about it! You can pull them out later and make a delicious baked pasta dish. I am planning to make lasagna this week!
Recipe tips and notes
- Use chicken thighs rather than breasts for this recipe. Chicken breasts are not succulent enough for this sauce.
- Skinless and boneless chicken thighs should be used as slow cooked chicken skin is unappetizing and it is almost impossible to remove all the tiny bones from chicken thighs and legs.
- This sauce requires a robust pasta shape such as penne. Avoid using thin pasta like spaghetti.
Favourite Italian pasta recipes
- Bucatini all’Amatriciana and Meatballs
- Sausage Pasta Bake with Mozzarella
- Creamy Tagliatelle with Bacon, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil
- Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese
- 3 lbs /1.3kg skinless boneless chicken thighs or duck legs
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 onions diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 sprigs rosemary chopped or 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 2 X 400g/14oz cans of chopped tomatoes/crushed tomatoes for the US readers
- 250 ml /1 cup dry red wine
- 1 lbs robus pasta such as penne or pappardelle no spaghetti
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute diced carrots, celery and onion over low heat for 10 minutes, add minced garlic and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes longer.
- In a slow cooker combine the sauteed vegetables, skinless, boneless chicken thighs previously seasoned with salt and pepper, chopped tomatoes and red wine.
- Set your slow cooker to LOW and cook for 8 hours. At the end of the cooking time remove the chicken thighs with a slotted spoon to a large plate and shred the chicken with two forks. The chicken should be easy to work with. Return to the sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions and combine the desired amount with Venetian Chicken ragu, freeze the leftover chicken ragu.
- Serve with shaved or grated Parmesan cheese.