In her 1971 cookbook, In the Kitchen with Love, Sophia Loren says that it is sweet red peppers that make Chicken Cacciatora really Neapolitan, although no true Neapolitan would agree with this. Sophia Loren was from the town of Pozzuoli, a town adjacent to Naples, but it might as well be in another state as far as the Neapolitans are concerned. This is a really good version of Chicken Cacciatora that leaves out the rosemary from the standard version. Enjoy it with torn bread to drink up the tomato sauce.
Recipe for 4.
Ingredients and equipment:
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs and each breast cut in half crosswise)
- 1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 large red pepper, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Pinch, red chili peppers
- 2 cups canned plum tomatoes, crushed by handed with their juices
- A few leaves of Basil, torn into pieces
In a large 12-inch saute pan with a cover, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot and almost smoking, add the chicken pieces and brown starting with the skin side down. Saute chicken in batches, if necessary. Do not crowd the pan as the oil temperature will drop and the frying will stop. Saute skin side down and then turn and cook the other side.
Once brown all over, remove to a plate. It’s OK if the chicken if not cooked through, you’ll stew it more with the tomatoes.
With the olive oil and the chicken fat still in the pan, fry the onion in the pan. Add a pinch of salt to the onions to help them “sweat”. When the onions begin to sweat out their moisture, add the red peppers and a pinch of red chili flakes and continue to saute.
When the the onion and peppers have softened and the pan begins to dry a bit, add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Let the wine cook off. Add the partially cooked chicken pieces back into the onion / pepper mixture. Hand crush the tomatoes over the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low and combine all the ingredients well in the pan. Cover and cook the chicken until the chicken meat is falling off the bone. This will take about 30 minutes.
Serve the chicken with a green vegetable. Cover the chicken with a little of the sauce and a few of the torn basil leaves.