This slow cooker Chicken Bolognese (ragù alla bolognese) is not only a hearty delicious pasta meal featuring chicken thighs, 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 quite popular not just in Italy, but is enjoyed in many countries these days. This Chicken Bolognese version is a hearty dish of chicken pasta sauce tossed with wide noodles.
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 pasta sauce to a beef stew and when she didn't add potatoes it ended out getting eaten with pasta.
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 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 Bolognese
Here is a quick visual walk-through of the preparation of this easy slow cooker Chicken 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 ¼ 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 ¼ 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 pasta 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.
Chicken Pasta Recipes
Here are a few more dinners featuring pasta and chicken.
- Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Chicken and Pasta with Fresh Tomato Cream Sauce
- Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Chicken, Spinach and Cannellini Bean Pasta
Slow Cooker Chicken Bolognese
- 2 carrots medium
- 1-2 stalks celery
- ½ sweet onion
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 ½ - 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 24 oz jar of pasta 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.