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Chicken Sugo Pappardelle + Caesar Salad

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
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Why we love it:

In Italy, pasta sauces are taken very seriously - and there are multiple words for different types of sauce depending on what’s in it, how long it cooks, and also from which region it hails. Sugo is also called Ragu in some areas and it typically means meat was long cooked in the sauce. This version with chicken is light, yet rich, simple, yet satisfying and freezes beautifully for 3 months. We highly recommend doubling up and saving some for later. *The times listed here are for an Instant Pot. Instructions included for stovetop but the chicken will have to boil longer*


  • 1 Chicken, Whole (about 3.5-4.5 pounds)
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 2 ribs Celery
  • 5 cloves Garlic (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme (optional, or use half as much rosemary or oregano)
  • 1 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided, plus more for the pasta water)
  • 4 cups Water (varies, see instructions for total amount)
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (optional)
  • 3 Anchovys (ideally oil-packed)
  • 1 Egg (large, yolk only)
  • 34 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Lemon (zest and juice, divided)
  • 14 cup Parmesan Cheese (finely grated on a microplane, or smallest holes on a box grater)
  • 14 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 14 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 pound Pappardelle Pasta
  • 14 cup Capers
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce

Cooking Instructions


    If you have a device and want to use it, this is a great time to pull it out. Place the whole chicken in it. Slice the onion, carrot and celery in half and add the large pieces to the chicken. Smash 3 of the garlic cloves and add them. Strip the leaves off the thyme and add it in. Add the tomatoes. At this point add about 1 teaspoon salt and gently stir everything to coat in tomato.

    Cover the chicken at halfway with water - depending on the capacity of your machine, this could be 3 cups or up to about 5 cups. Don’t go over 5 cups though.

    Power on at "normal pressure" for 29 minutes. Or on high for 3 hours in your slowcooker.

    *If everything doesn’t fit you can chop the chicken in half and freeze half the chicken for roasting at another time. Or, cut up the chicken but perhaps it will all fit in if it’s a different shape.


    Follow the same instructions as above but use a very large pot on the stove top. You will bring everything just barely up to a boil, then stir, and reduce to medium low and cover. Simmer, checking and stirring occasionally, for about an hour or until the chicken is very tender.


    Meanwhile, make the Caesar dressing. This is the real deal dressing!

    In a traditional blender or food processor (aka, not a bullet style blender because you have to drizzle into the running machine), add the anchovy fillets, egg yolk, 2 garlic cloves, and Dijon mustard. Zest the lemon into a bowl and add half to the dressing, reserve the other half to finish the pasta sauce. Juice the entire lemon into the blender. Add half of the grated parmesan cheese to the blender and a pinch of salt.

    Turn on and blend until the anchovy is mostly blended.

    With the blender running on a low speed, drizzle in the vegetable oil. Truly, drizzle in just 1-2 drops at a time. You want to go as slow as you possibly can. Once you get about half of it in, the noise will change and you’ll see it look more like dressing. At this point, you can go a bit faster but don’t ever dump the oil in or the dressing will “break.”

    Remove dressing to a bowl and stir in the black pepper.


    Do you think it broke? It will look chunky instead of smooth like mayo. Don’t worry!

    Crack another egg yolk into a large bowl and add the juice of half of a lemon (or ½ teaspoon cider vinegar). And whisk well. Add 1 Tablespoon of the broken dressing to this yolk while whisking, hard. When that’s smooth, add another Tablespoon of broken dressing and whisk hard. When that’s smooth, you can whisk in the rest of the broken dressing. If it’s too tangy, you slowly drizzle and whisk in another teaspoon or two of vegetable oil.

  • 5. PASTA

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a Tablespoon or so of salt. Add the pasta and cook according the package suggestion, time can vary quite a bit. When al dente, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water then drain, don’t rinse. Toss the hot pasta in a large bowl with the olive oil, you’ll use the cooking pot again and there’s no need to wash it.

  • 6. SUGO

    When the chicken is tender, remove from the heat or your cooker. Set the large pasta pot in the sink and put a colander on top. Very carefully, strain the chicken pot into the cooking pot. The chicken and solids will catch in the colander.

    Lift out the colander and put the pasta pot on the stove top over medium heat, bring to a gentle boil. You need a work surface for shredding the chicken, we find a rimmed baking sheet or a 9x13 casserole dish work well. Set that out.

    Use tongs and lift the chicken out the strainer onto the work surface. Set this aside for a minute.


    Pluck out the carrot, celery and onion from the colander. If you see the garlic, that too. Coarsely chop these and add to the pot on the stove. They’ll be really soft, and that’s great. If your tomatoes were too chunky and there are a lot of them in the colander, you’ll want to add those to the pot on the stove too. Check that there are no chicken bones or inedible sprigs of thyme in there.

  • 8. CHICKEN

    Carefully remove meat from the chicken bones and shred it. You might be able to do this simply with tongs; or you may need to use a fork and a little paring knife to get it all. As you shred, add it to the pot on the stove.


    Finish the sauce by adding in the capers and remaining lemon zest. Add about half of the reserved pasta water. Stir and give it a taste. You may prefer more salt or pepper and if it’s too dry, you can add more pasta water.

    Turn off the heat and stir in the butter for velvety richness.

    Stir in the pasta.

  • 10. LETTUCE

    Trim the root off your lettuce and separate large spears. Arrange on a platter and serve with the dressing alongside.

  • 11. SERVING

    Serve the pasta with the sauce in large bowls. Salad on the side. Garnish either, both, or everything in sight with more grated Parmesan and thyme leaves to taste. (Chef Alison votes for the latter. Can’t have enough Parmesan!)

Check out our new features!


    use GF pasta or serve over creamy polenta
    just omit the butter and parmesan
    you can make the Caesar without the raw egg by using a Tablespoon of mayo instead. Mayo technically has eggs too though, so use Vegan mayo to be completely egg free
    even if you think you don’t like them, you will like this! But, if you must, omit
    you can’t make Caesar dressing like this with olive oil, so don’t try. You could use peanut or avocado oil though
    to simplify the shredding process you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs and cook for about half the time. You don’t need to separate and strain at the end, but you will lose that bone-broth depth in the process. Sometimes though, speed and simplicity are king
    don’t toss it out! You can keep it in the fridge and add to your next batch of scrambled eggs within a week. Or just freeze it in a small bowl or clean ice cube tray. To use, simply defrost
    for some leave the sauce off the pasta and serve some shredded chicken on the side. For others, perhaps leave the capers out
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