My shredded chicken ragù is a pasta recipe you’ll want to keep on regular rotation. It doesn’t take quite as long to make as a shredded pork or beef ragù, but it’s just as comforting, I promise!
This ragù could easily be made on a weeknight for an easy, comforting pasta dinner. We’re still in tomato season, so if you have an abundance of summer tomatoes, feel free to blanch them and crush them by hand for the sauce, as I did. Otherwise, use a can of crushed tomatoes for an even easier dinner recipe.
How to make this shredded chicken ragù:
To make this shredded chicken ragù, you need a few ingredients, including:
- Chicken: Use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the most flavor.
- Aromatics: The is super aromatic thanks to onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Fresh thyme adds a really nice earthy flavor to the sauce.
- Parmesan rind: If you have one, throw it in! Be sure to read more about the value of keeping those Parmesan rinds here!
- Tomatoes: Use 28 ounces of canned, crushed tomatoes or about 2 pounds of fresh Roma tomatoes. If using fresh, blanch them first and remove the skins and core. Crush them by hand and strain off the excess water.
- Parmesan cheese: This adds the perfect amount of creaminess to the sauce.
- Pasta: I used bucatini, but pappardelle would be perfect for this rich, hearty sauce.
How to make the sauce:
- Step 1: Brown the chicken. Cook the thighs for about five minutes per side and then transfer them to a plate.
- Step 2: Cook the aromatics. Melt the butter and add the onion, carrots, and celery. After they’ve cooked for about 12 minutes, add minced garlic.
- Step 3: Brown the tomato paste. Add tomato paste and lightly mash it into the vegetables until it browns well.
- Step 4: Finish the sauce. Deglaze the pot, add the thyme and Parmesan rind, and pour in the tomatoes. Simmer for about 45–55 minutes. After the sauce simmers, remove the chicken and shred it. Return the shredded meat to the sauce and continue simmering as you cook the pasta.
- Step 5: Make the pasta. Boil up your favorite pasta and save a little pasta water before draining.
- Step 6: Finish it all up. Add grated Parmesan and a little pasta water to the ragù. Stir well until the cheese melts into the sauce. Add the pasta and toss to coat.
From there, serve it up! I like to scatter a few basil leaves on top and serve with roasted broccoli on the side.
Shredded Chicken Ragù
- Large pot
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 small carrots, peeled and small diced
- 3 ribs celery, trimmed and small-diced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and small-diced
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken stock or white wine
- 6 –8 sprigs thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
- 1 Parmesan rind, optional
- 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes or 2 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes, blanched, cored, and hand-crushed
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 16 ounces bucatini or pappardelle
- Fresh basil leaves, optional, for serving
- Salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar, optional
Brown the chicken:
- Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Once hot, add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
Cook the vegetables:
- Melt the butter in the pot. Add the carrots, celery, and onion to the butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Brown the tomato paste:
- Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste to the vegetables and cook for 3–4 minutes, mashing the paste into the vegetables until it browns.
- Pour in the chicken stock or wine and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes until reduced. Add the bundle of thyme and the Parmesan rind.
Simmer the sauce:
- Pour in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken on top. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 45–55 minutes. Add more water as needed if the sauce evaporates too quickly.
Finish the sauce:
- Remove the cooked chicken from the pot and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the thyme and Parmesan rind from the sauce and discard. Taste and add salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar if needed.
- Carefully shred the chicken with two forks. Discard the skin and bones and add the shredded meat to the sauce. Continue simmering, uncovered, as you make the pasta.
Boil the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Remove ½ cup of the pasta water from the pot. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Finish the sauce:
- Turn the heat on the sauce to medium-high. Once it begins bubbling, add half the pasta water and the Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese melts into the sauce.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat with the sauce, adding more pasta water if needed. Once the pasta is coated, turn off the heat.
- Divide the pasta between shallow bowls. Garnish with basil leaves and more Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!