This dish is a great way to use less-than-perfect summer tomatoes. A Parmesan cheese rind makes the chunky sauce extra savory and delicious. It is the ideal summer slow cooker meal. Assemble the ingredients and then spend a couple of hours shopping or playing outside. When everyone is hungry, this light but satisfying dish is ready. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind for a successful slow cooking experience: Slow cooking requires little fat, so trim the excess from meats and poultry. Preserve the flavor of fresh herbs by adding them to the dish once it comes out of the slow cooker. Removing the slow cooker lid while cooking releases valuable heat, so resist the urge to check on the dish as it cooks. There is no need to stir ingredients in a slow cooker unless your recipe calls for it. Slow cooking creates moisture, so you often don’t need as much liquid as when you are cooking in an oven. Use only the amount called for in the recipe.
1 bunch fresh basil stems, plus 1/4 cup basil leaves
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lb.)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound uncooked fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
How to Make It
Combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, tomato paste, Parmesan rind, and basil stems in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
Sprinkle chicken thighs evenly with pepper and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken to skillet, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to slow cooker, and nestle into tomato mixture. Cover and cook on LOW until tomatoes have broken down and chicken is very tender and done, 2 to 3 hours.
Transfer chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly. Remove and discard basil stems and Parmesan rind from slow cooker. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Process mixture using an immersion blender until mostly smooth, about 30 seconds. Shred chicken into 1-inch pieces, and stir into slow cooker.
Toss pasta with tomato-chicken mixture, and divide evenly among 6 bowls. Top with basil leaves and grated Parmesan.
Tie the basil stems together with a piece of kitchen twine so they’re easier to remove from the cooked sauce.