Meaning “hunter” in Italian, cacciatore is a rustic dish bursting with rich flavor. Serve over noodles and enjoy with the rest of that red wine—you’ll only need a cup for this recipe.
|3-1/2||pounds||chicken, cut into 4 thighs and 4 legs*|
|1/2||cup||flour, for dredging|
|4||ounces||thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced|
|1||carrot, finely chopped|
|1||red||bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped|
|1||stalk||celery, finely chopped|
|1||14-ounce can||crushed tomatoes***|
|1||cup||drinking-quality red wine****|
|1-1/2||teaspoons||rosemary leaves, finely chopped|
|~||optional||chopped Italian parsley for garnish|
*Bone-in, dark chicken meat like thighs and legs give the best flavor. Chicken breasts can be substituted if preferred.
**Use supermarket white buttons or the small brown portabella (crimini) mushrooms.
***Substitute one 15-ounce can of tomato sauce is preferred.
****Northern Italians use red wine in this dish while those in the south prefer white wine. In San Francisco, my wine of choice is red.
- Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
NOTE: This is the secret to great meat dishes like cacciatore. The flavor isn’t restricted to the sauce but goes straight through to the center of each bite.
- Bring chicken to room temperature and dredge with flour.
- Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat until sizzling.
- Add the bay leaves and infuse the oil for one minute.
- Add the chicken and cook until golden. Remove and set aside.
- Sauté the mushroom. Set aside.
- Stir in the pancetta and fry until crisp.
- Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 45 seconds, adjusting the heat to prevent burning.
- Add 1–2 tablespoons of oil and heat to a sizzle. Toss in the carrots, bell peppers and celery. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes.
- Slowly add the chicken broth, scraping all of the bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the tomatoes and wine, stirring well.
- Add the browned chicken, spooning sauce over the pieces. Bring to a lively simmer.
- Cover and adjust the heat to reach a low simmer. Cook for 60 minutes.
- Add the chopped Rosemary and sugar. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Garnish with parsley and serve.
NOTE: I spread hot noodles over a large platter and top them with the cacciatore. The parsley garnish makes for a deliciously beautiful presentation.