The Butcher's Pasta Sauce ~ From the Slow Cooker

There is no doubt that I love those quick pasta sauces
that can be put together at a moments notice,
especially in the warmer months when fresh produce is

However, when the temperatures drop I usually
long for the deep flavors of a slow cooked sauce,
the kind of sauce that can simmer on the stovetop
for a couple of hours while the flavor develops.
The kind mom and grandma used to make.

That's fine if you have a leisurely day to check on the
sauce while it's cooking and give it a stir every so often, 
adding more liquid if necessary.  

Sometimes we don't have that luxury of time --
 that's what makes this recipe stand out; long
simmered flavor without having to babysit it.

Slow Cookers ~ you may love them or not, 
there is no doubt they are a convenience.  

In years past I could count on one hand the recipes I really loved 
made in the slow cooker.   Too many times the food cooked in these units 
tasted and looked like bad cafeteria food ~ left on the steam table for far too long 
mushy, gray and not much in the way of flavor.

My slow cooker aversion took a turn around with the 
introduction of the more modern slow cooker cookbooks, like this one
from Michele Scicolone. 

Click image to learn more

"The Italian Slow Cooker"

Michele is a genius when it comes to what type of recipes really benefit
from slow cooking. Instead of just dumping ingredients into
the cooking vessel, sometimes a little prep takes place stovetop
to get the recipes started. This one extra step makes all the
difference in the world when it comes to a superior finished
dish. So worth it!

I've had the book for a while ~I've shared  another favorite from book 
a while back; "Spicy Tuscan-Style Sausage Ragu". Very, very good.)

The book covers everything from soups, sauces, risotto, polenta, grains,
seafood, eggs, poultry, meats, veggies and beans, plus desserts.
She offers special techniques that assure perfect results even with
the most delicate ingredients like eggs, fish, and tender desserts.

The one I'm sharing today is The Butcher's Sauce, a recipe from Puglia.
The unique thing about this recipe, and the reason for it's name ~ as Michele
explains is that it is made of any kind of meat you happen to have, either fresh
or in your freezer. (A good way to use up raw scraps of this and that such as
a bit of raw ground beef, a pork chop, a sausage or a chicken breast.) Just
chop the meat up in your food processor and proceed with the recipe.
I have the basic recipe over on my recipe blog.

photo: Doris Italian Market

Usually served with orecchiette, cavatelli or any chunky pasta. 
I used perciatelli (pronounced: "pear-chuh-TELL-lee" as it is known in Naples.) 
Almost everywhere else, the cut is refered to as bucatini.
About twice as thick as spaghetti and hollow as you can see from the photo.

This one is a keeper, friends!
And like most tomato based cooked sauces,
it freezes very successfully ~ you can double batch easily
if you have a very large slow cooker.

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe,
you can find it over on my recipe blog HERE.

Please come see what's cooking for Foodie Friday!

Have a wonderful weekend!

~Mari xo


  1. I love this Mari, the sauce looks so deep red and rich, just the way I like it. What a brilliant idea to make it in the slow cooker. I usually reserve making my marinara for days when I'll be near the stove but I don't always have that luxury.

    1. Hi Chris! I hope you like this version ~ there is something about a long simmered meat sauce that I long for when the weather chills, and I love that it's all ready to go right from the freezer.

  2. Mari, you made me laugh about cafeteria food. That is exactly what I was thinking about crockpot food. But, I did make your ragu and it was so delicious. I make it about once a month and freeze two thirds and feast on the rest - so good. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Madonna, I hope you like this one too, it really does remind me of the one (my non-Italian) mom used to make, the one I grew up with ~ so of course it's dear to my heart! <3

  3. I saw this on facebook and had to come check it out. I think I even have that book!

    1. Pam, I am on a mission to try a few more recipes from each cookbook I buy. Confession time: I always get enamored with the next new pretty cover that comes along, and I know there are still gems to be discovered in books I already have. Makes me feel better about the small fortune I spend on cookbooks. :-/

  4. Have to go see it looks so delish..I LOVE pasta..funny I was thinking as soon as I saw the photo Bucatini..then read ..and still thaought it looks like bucatini..and there you said it:)
    I have those French Dips..and Chris' Pulled pork that I like in the CP..this will be a third..The book sounds like a real winner.
    After all it's Italian:)

    Love the plate..have a similar one:)

    1. Hi Monique, me too--- it wasn't until I read this cookbook that I learned another name for bucatini. Yes, those are JUST the kinds of slow cooker recipes I like, Pulled pork, French Dips, Italian Beef for sandwiches, the stew-y, juicy kinds of things that benefit from long slow cooking ~ absolutely. :)

  5. Looks wonderful! I have that is really great! I lent it to my friend and she never gave it back she uses it so much!

    1. Oh Linda, you are good hearted! If you don't get you cookbook back, just let me know if there are any of the recipes you would like me to email to you. I've barely scratched the surface, there are lots of good sounding ones I wish to try...

  6. It looks delicious!
    Just what I have been hungry for lately.

  7. It's funny..just prepared a post..and of course my slow cooker is on it..we both have Hamilton Beach..different colors:)I hadn't noticed the first time..:)


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

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