January 9, 2012

Not your Usual Ragu: Bucatini with Chicken Ragu

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It's not often that we combine chicken with pasta. We'eve never been fans of the ultra-heavy chicken alfredo, and most of the time tend to pair our red sauces with seafood or beef. We came across this recipe in one of our Mario Batali cookbooks and were reminded of the sugo di pollo we made about a year ago, and decided to give it a try.

The original recipe called for spaghetti grosso, which is a very thick spaghetti. We couldn't find that, but we had bucatini on hand, which worked like a charm. The nice, thick noodle provided a lot of surface area for the sauce to cling to, and made for a wholly satisfying meal.

Making the Dish
This is actually a very easy dish to put together. It's slightly time consuming just because of the cooking times, but if you have some things to do while the chicken is cooking and then when the ragu is simmering, you'll notice you've spent barely any time actually cooking.

Cooking the chicken and preparing the stock

Begin by brining the chicken for about half an hour by simply letting the chicken rest in slightly salted water. After a half hour, pat it off. In a large saucepan, add in a shallot, two carrots, a rib of celery, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then let cook at a low rolling boil for about 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan, and let cool. Continue to cook the remaining stock until it is reduced by about half.

Chopping up the veggies with the chicken cools

While the stock is cooking down, dice up your veggies for the ragu. In a small dice, prepare a rib of celery, an onion, three cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of fresh thyme.

Cooking the veggies in butter and oil. 

In a large sauce pan, melt a tablespoon of butter into a tablepsoon of olive oil, and sauté the veggies over medium heat, until soft and golden. This could take about 15 minutes. While that's cooking down, shred up your chicken, using two forks. (Be careful that while you're doing this you keep an eye on your veggies, you don't want them to burn!)

Shredding the chicken

When the veggies have softened, add in a cup of the chicken stock you've been reducing (making sure that the big softened vegetables aren't included), and a cup and a half of tomato sauce. Add in the thyme, and the shredded chicken.

Adding the thyme and chicken to the sauce and broth

Let simmer for about 45 minutes at low heat until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Letting the sauce simmer for an unbearably long time

In the last 20 minutes of simmering the ragu, cook your spaghetti or bucatini until one minute shy of package directions. Then, grab the cooked pasta with tongs and place in the sauce pan.

Adding the fresh grated pepper to the bucatini and the sauce

Cover with a hearty amount of freshly ground black pepper, and then toss to combine, over medium heat, until the ragu is absorbed into the pasta.

Tossing the bucatini into the chicken ragu

Serve, garnished with grated cheese.

The Result
Delish! The sauce is bursting with chicken flavor, and is a hearty, filling dish. The chicken is a nice change from ragus of beef or vegetables, giving you the texture of meat without the heavy flavor.

Plus, Herbie & Pepper loved the extra bits of chicken they were able to dine on.

Have a chicken and pasta dish we should try? Let us know about it in the comments!

Bucatini with Chicken Ragu

Written by:

A chicken ragu over pasta

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

(Serves: 2 - 4)

1/2 lb bucatini or spaghetti grosso
2 chicken legs
1 shallot
2 carrots
1 bay leaf
2 quarts water
1 tbsp salt
1 diced onion
1 diced celery rib
3 cloves diced garlic
2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
1 cup chicken stock
1.5 cups tomato sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. I'll have to try this, you guys have me hooked on making ragu. It makes the house smell divine!

    1. Totally agree! It's better than air freshener, that's for sure :) What's your favorite kind?

    2. I'm here jotting down this recipe! My favorite of your recipes is the beef ragu with parsnips. I love how it is a one pot meal with all the food groups and tastes gourmet! I've made it three times since you posted about it. :)

    3. Oh yes! That's a great one. So glad to hear you liked it!

  2. Hope to try this soon - it looks just wonderful!


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