Slow Cooker Ragu Recipe
My Slow Cooker Ragu is a hearty, vegetable-packed sauce that is perfect for any pasta you like.
Slow Cooker Ragu uses a blend of 7 vegetables and shredded pork with flavorful spices to make a hearty and delicious ragu sauce. Serve over pasta.
Ragu isn’t necessarily a tomato-based “spaghetti sauce,” although it we often think of it that way. Ragu is essentially a rich, slow-cooked sauce, made for pasta, consisting primarily of meat.
Often times this includes tomatoes and concentrated tomato paste as well as vegetables and other liquids. Things like alfredo, scampi, carbonara and other sauces do not fall into this category.
In the case of Slow Cooker Ragu, I am simmering pork in red wine and/or diced tomatoes and their juices as well as carrots, celery, onion, garlic and the infamous “super green,” kale.
For the wine, I like a nice dry red versus something jammy and fruit-forward. It will give your sauce a better body when it’s ready to serve.
You can also use non-alcoholic cooking wine or omit the wine altogether if you would like to. Because the alcohol is cooking off, it is safe for the kiddos and gives this ragu that something special.
If you are choosing to do without the wine, I suggest going a little heavier on the spices. You will lose some flavor from the wine, so evening it out with those is the right way to go.
Using a slow cooker to make ragu is a revelation. There is no sauteing each ingredient one by one.
Taking things out or putting them back in. You don’t have to stir things every 15 minutes and check in on the sauce.
The slow cooker eliminates all of that and while I am all for a sauce that takes all day, I also love being able to walk away from a meal so I can get other things done.
It is also a great game day recipe. Get things going, watch the game, and when the time is right, boil the pasta and feed a crowd.
Another reason to love tasty Slow Cooker Ragu is that is freezes beautifully. This batch will typically feed up to 8 people (only 6 if it is my husband and his friends.)
If you are feeding fewer than that, make a large batch and freeze half for another night. You can also freeze individual portions for lunches or single-serving meals.
Another great thing about Slow Cooker Ragu is that you can change up the pasta. I love serving it with gnocchi (either potato or ricotta) because of the fluffy texture of the pasta and the rich, savory sauce.
Other shapes that go well with this are pappardelle, ziti, and macaroni. Really, any shape will do. Fresh or dry pasta is perfect for this.
Don’t eat pork? Try it with ground beef. A good chuck blend is perfect or even with chicken. Because chicken is a little leaner, I would suggest going with dark meat like boneless skinless chicken thighs to keep it just as rich.
If you like our Slow Cooker Ragu, you’ll love these other slow cooker recipes:
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Slow Cooker Ragu
- 1 large white onion halved and sliced
- 6 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 2 14- ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
- 1 12- ounce can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red cooking wine
- 3 small bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 3-4 pork boneless pork roast excess fat trimmed
- 5 inch ribs kale leaves removed and roughly torn into 3-4pieces
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons corn starch if needed
- Pasta of choice cooked to package directions
- Place onion through black pepper in your slow cooker, mix with a spoon. Place roast in slow cooker, smear the top of the roast with mixture. Set slow cooker for low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Thirty minutes prior to serving, skim off any excess fat that has risen to the top and remove roast. Shred roast using two large forks. Return meat to the slow cooker and add unsalted butter and kale. If your sauce requires additional thickening, you can combine 2 tablespoons corn starch in 2 tablespoons of water, whisking out any lumps, and then stir into sauce.
- Prepare desired pasta. Top pasta with Slow Cooker Ragu and enjoy!