Quarantine Eats: Slow Cooker Chicken Ragu with Herbed Ricotta

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
½ yellow or red onion, finely minced (about 1 cup)
4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 sprig fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
1 ½ teaspoons red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
 Kosher salt and black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
8 ounces pappardelle, tagliatelle, fettuccine or other long, thick pasta
1 cup whole-milk or part-skim ricotta
 Heaping 1/4 cup chopped soft fresh herbs, such as chives, oregano, parsley or basil, or a mix
 Juice of 1/4 lemon (1 to 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 handful torn fresh basil leaves

1 - In a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, carrot, onion, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, thyme, oregano, red-pepper flakes and onion powder. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and a couple grinds of pepper.

2 - Pour the tomatoes and their juices into the slow cooker, crushing the tomatoes with your hands, if using whole. Stir to combine.

3 - Cover and cook on low until the chicken is very tender, about 6 hours. The ragù will hold well on warm for an additional 1 to 2 hours.

4 - Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta with the chopped herbs, lemon juice and a pinch of salt; set aside.

5 - Coarsely shred the cooked chicken with two forks. Remove and discard the herb sprigs and add the vinegar and the basil leaves. Taste the sauce, adding more red-pepper flakes, if you like. Turn off the slow cooker. Pour the drained pasta into the slow cooker and toss to combine.

6 - Divide among bowls and top with the ricotta mixture.

Recipe from NYT Cooking

Miss Menu notes: I used chicken breasts and I also skipped the olive oil. Also, the ingredient list is lengthy (and a little overwhelming at first glance), but a lot of staple items you probably have in the pantry already!