This slow cooker Chicken Thigh Bolognese (ragù alla bolognese) is not only a hearty delicious pasta meal, but is easy to make thanks to RAGÚ Homestyle sauce. It takes just a few minutes to do the prep work for this recipe, then just forget about it until the family is ready for dinner.
Bolognese is a slow simmered Italian stew sauce, made with meat and the same vegetables used in mirepoix (carrot, celery and onion), along with tomatoes or tomato sauce. It is a hearty dish typically served with wide noodles, and is quite popular not just in Italy, but is enjoyed in many countries these days.
My mom used to make a version with stew beef when I was a kid, but we never called it Bolognese at the time. It was more like she added RAGÚ pasta sauce to a beef stew and when she didn’t add potatoes it ended out getting eaten with pasta. Ragu pasta sauce was favorite of my family growing up, so it was always on had. We don’t have a drop of Italian blood, and seldom dined in restaurants. So, we were not at all savvy in authentic Italian cooking. We just knew what we liked. Adding RAGÚ pasta sauce was just my mom’s way of making the beef more palatable to the rest of us, since my dad was the only one who actually liked it. She sort of stumbled upon the same great idea Italian cooks had been making for generations. It became our tradition too.
I am still not much of a beef or pork eater, but chicken thighs also work well in slow simmered sauces like Bolognese. Rather than preparing the chicken in a Dutch oven on the stove top like I usually do, I decided to dust off my neglected slow cooker. This way I could make the meal overnight, and would also be an easy meal to toss together before work in the morning for family dinnertime.
Making Slow Cooker Chicken Thigh Bolognese
Here is a quick visual walk-through of the preparation of this easy slow cooker Chicken Thigh Bolognese. Full recipe below.
First, finely chopped carrot, celery, onion and bay leaves are added to the slow cooker. The vegetables can be prepared the evening before to save time in the morning, and a food processor can make the prep work a breeze.
A 1/4 cup of white whine is added. If you don’t have wine, grape or apple juice, or a couple tablespoons of red wine or apple cider vinegar topped off with water to reach the 1/4 cup level can readily be substituted.
Mix the vegetables together, then arrange the chicken thighs on top.
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Pour a jar of RAGÚ Homestyle Thick and Hearty Traditional Sauce over the chicken. Turn the slow cooker on low. Cook for 6-8 hours, then break up the chicken thighs with a wooden spoon, until in bite sized pieces.
Toss pasta with butter and bolognese sauce to serve.
- 2 medium carrots
- 1-2 stalks of celery
- ½ sweet onion
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1½ - 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 jar RAGU Homestyle Traditional sauce
- 2 tbs butter, softened
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound tagliatelle (substituting a good fettucine or pappardelle noodle is fine)
- Fine dice the carrots, celery and onion (food processor can be helpful). Place in slow cooker along with two bay leaves. Add wine and mix well.
- Arrange the chicken thighs on top, then add the RAGU Homestyle Traditional sauce.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once fully cooked, break the chicken thighs up into bite sized pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and toss with butter, then add the Chicken Bolognese sauce and gently mix to coat.
- Serve warm. Add grated cheese if you like.