This is absolutely one of my favorite pasta sauces. I make a traditional bolognese or ragu sauce frequently from ground beef and pork, but this sauce is very different. I make it from chicken thighs, which I braise, remove from the pot and then shred, removing the meat from the bone. The meat is then placed back into the sauce to cook further. It has a very full, rich flavor from the vegetables, broth, wine and the addition of tomato paste (I used my homemade estratto from this fall). You can serve this over any pasta. I like orecchiette ("little ears" in Italian) because it holds the sauce so well. This is also great over homemade gnocchi.
Chicken Ragu Sauce Over Orecchiette
for a printable recipe, click here
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 chicken thighs, skin removed
- 1/3 cup finely diced carrot
- 1/3 cup finely diced celery
- 1/3 cup finely diced onion
- large pinch of kosher or sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (or to taste)
- ground fresh black pepper
- 12 ounces dried orecchiette pasta (or any kind you like)
- grated parmesan cheese
In a heavy bottom pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the chicken thighs. Let them brown for a few minutes and turn when nicely golden. Let brown on the other side. Remove and set aside. Add the carrot, celery and onion and the large pinch of salt. Stir together and let cook for about 5 minutes. Do not brown, lower heat a little if you have to. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for another two minutes. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon or your hands (I use my hands and crush them). Add the bay leaves, thyme and oregano and stir.
Return the thighs to the pot, cover, and let simmer on low for about an hour.
Remove the thighs from the pot and place on a cutting board. With two forks, shred the meat off the bones and return the meat to the pot. Add the salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, for about another 15 minutes. Taste the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Continue to cook, uncovered, until you like the thickness of the sauce.
Boil the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. Remove the pasta with a strainer and place right into the sauce. Stir together and serve right away with grated cheese.