I have only cooked chicken cacciatore once and I was blessed to have a real life Italian chef teach me how to make it. Needless to say I have not tried it since because I am pretty sure it will never be as tasty and the recipe is in Italian so……….. The other day my girl Rachael Ray made a spicy version of her family’s chicken cacciatore recipe and it looks easy and delicious. Enjoy!
- 6 to 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken (she uses thighs and small split breasts)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 lb pancetta, guanciale or bacon, diced 1/4 inch
- 3/4 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 fresno peppers or 1 green frying pepper (for a milder version), thinly sliced
- 2 small or 1 medium carrot, very thinly sliced or finely diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
- 1 14-ounce can puréed tomatoes or 2 cups passata
- A few leaves of basil, torn
- A fat handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 lb hot red pepper-flavored penne or penne rigate (she cooks 1/2 pound for 2 or 3 people, 1 pound for 4 to 6 people)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- A couple of handfuls freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown chicken skin-side down first in 2 batches until crispy, remove to plate. Add pancetta, guanciale or bacon and crisp, drain off some fat if there is more than 5-6 tablespoons. Add mushrooms and brown 7-8 minutes. Add fresnos, carrots, garlic, onions, bay, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Partially cover pan and cook 7-8 minutes to soften the vegetables. Stir in tomato paste, cook 1-2 minutes. Add wine and reduce by half. Add tomatoes and basil, break up tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add chicken back to the pot and simmer 35-40 minutes uncovered to thicken. Stir in parsley near serving time.
Bring pasta water to full rolling boil. Season pasta water with salt and cook pasta to al dente.
Arrange chicken pieces on platter and cover with some of the sauce. Drain pasta and add back to hot pot and toss with butter, half the remaining sauce and the cheese. Transfer pasta to platter or bowl and top with additional sauce.