I like chicken cacciatore served with polenta, as it's traditionally eaten by game hunters. I recall that when my grandfather brought home a pheasant, hare or boar, Grandma would always prepare a big pot of polenta to go with it.
Technique tip: You can use a whole cut-up chicken or a combination of drumsticks and thighs. If you have leftovers, strip the chicken meat from the bones and add it back to the sauce for a nice pasta dressing (plus a little pasta-cooking water, a drizzle of olive oil and some grated Grana Padano).
- 8 chicken drumsticks (about 2½ pounds)
- kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, thicky sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thickly sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Sicilian oregano on the branch
- crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)
Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt.2.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.3.
Brown the chicken on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes, and remove it to a plate.4.
Add the onion and pepper, and cook until they begin to wilt, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt. Add the wine and simmer until it's reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup water.5.
Return the chicken to the pot. Add the oregano and season with 1 teaspoon salt and a big pinch of pepperoncino.6.
Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout the cooking process. Stir in the parsley and serve.
From "Lidia's a Pot, a Pan, and a Bowl" by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Copyright © 2021 by Tutti a Tavola, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.