The pancetta and melted mozzarella turn a skillet chicken dish into a pizza-like delight.
Technique tip: If using all boneless white meat, reduce baking time by 5-10 minutes.
Swap option: If you can't find pancetta, use bacon or leave it out.
- 3½ pounds bone-in chicken pieces
- 2¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces pancetta, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 anchovy fillets, minced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes, halved (a mix of colors is nice)
- 3½ cups ripe tomatoes, diced
- 8-10 leaves fresh basil, chopped, plus more for serving
- 8 ounces bocconcini, halved (or use 1-inch cubes of fresh mozzarella)
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Pat the chicken dry and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
2. Heat a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, then add the oil; it should thin out on contact. Let it heat up for a few seconds, then add the pancetta. Cook, stirring frequently, until it's well browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
3. Add the chicken to skillet. Sear, turning only occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil.
4. Add the garlic, anchovy, capers and red pepper flakes to the skillet; sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and basil. Cook, breaking up the tomatoes with a spatula, until the sauce thickens somewhat, about 10 minutes.
5. Return the chicken to the skillet. Transfer the skillet to oven and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 30 minutes.
6. Remove the skillet from the oven and scatter the bocconcini over the top. Raise the oven temperature to broil. Return skillet to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 1 to 3 minutes (watch carefully to see that it does not burn). Garnish with pancetta and chopped basil before serving.