Pasta is a really big deal at our house. My American-Italian husband is, well, there’s no other way to put it, he’s absolutely wild for PASTA.
A favorite dish for us at home is Chicken Cacciatore. I’m almost positive that I don’t make this like DH’s grandmother did back East, but it’ll do. I have to say that of all of the dishes that I make, this is my go-to on a Thursday night when I’ve been busy all day. It’s not super involved, but tastes like you spent hours making a home cooked meal that is very satisfying not only to the eye but the stomach as well.
3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces, seasoned with S&P
1 pint Baby Portabella Mushrooms, quartered (these have more flavor)
1-2 Red Bell Peppers, rough chopped (about 1 cup)
½ Sweet White Onion, rough chopped (again, about a cup’s worth)
1 15 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes (I like the San Marzano tomatoes)
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
¼ C. Italian Parsley, rough chopped
¼ – ½ C. Chicken broth
A splash of white wine, whatever you’re drinking (please not the ‘cooking wine’ stuff)
A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes if you like, for heat
Grated Parmesan to top it all off
In a large skillet, heat some Olive Oil, just barely enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Once you see a wisp of smoke, start to brown the mushrooms.
Toss in the chicken, spread it out into a single layer and then leave it alone until the edges get white and the meat easily can be turned.
When the chicken is almost done, add the onions and peppers, stir them around until they’re a crisp-tender. Add the garlic in a spot that you clear in the pan, as soon as you can smell it, splash in your wine. This will give off a plume of steam; right away scrape up the bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Now goes in the crushed tomatoes and parsley as well as the red pepper if you chose to give this dish a spark; mix it all up, lower the heat to simmer and cover. Let this slowly bubble for about 20-30 minutes.
Give it a taste, does it need more salt? Maybe a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes were too tart. If it starts to get too thick, add some of the chicken broth, I usually do, about 10 minutes in. Serve warm over pasta, rice, polenta or just in a bowl with a hunk of bread. Top with the grated cheese and maybe another flourish of chopped parsley for eye appeal.
**Tip – Here’s where you can make this even leaner, use chicken breast meat. Be careful not to overcook it though, it can get tough and dry. Also, you could leave out the wine for fewer calories. Another thought? If you don’t drink wine, that doesn’t mean that you can’t cook with it. In the wine department of your local grocery store, they have four-packs of little bottles of wine.**
This recipe feeds two very hungry adults, who love pasta