The humble sheet pan is the hero of weeknight cooking. Its sleek, spacious surface allows the busy home cook to get a balanced dinner — protein! starch! vegetables! — on the table quickly with very little prep or cleanup. Just chop, drop and roast.
That’s why every week, we’ll be sharing throw-it-all-on-a-sheet-pan recipes from our favorite chefs and home cooks. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, friends, family or meal-prepping for the week, you should keep these one-pan meals in your back pocket — or, rather, your oven.
This week, Anthony Contrino, food stylist and host of TODAY Food's original series "Saucy," shares his recipe for a lighter, more summery take on a childhood favorite: Sheet Pan Chunky Chicken Cacciatore.
Chicken cacciatore, or hunter-style chicken, is a dish my mom would make pretty regularly when I was a kid. It’s a simple, rustic dish with easy-to-find and affordable ingredients. Typically, this is a braised dish — the chicken is sautéed and then stewed in a simple tomato sauce, often with onions and herbs and sometimes wine. As with most Italian-American recipes, each family puts their own spin on it — adding bell peppers, mushrooms or other veggies.
It's delicious, but it's the sort of dish that I want on a cold winter's day, so I was determined to create a lighter, more summery version of this classic. I swapped out the stewed tomatoes for fresh grape tomatoes, whose flavors intensify as they roast, and a generous splash of red wine vinegar adds a welcome brightness to the dish.
The best part? There’s barely any prep. Seriously, it’s going to take longer for the oven to preheat than it’s going to take you to lay out your mise en place! Did I mention that cleanup is a breeze? No oil splatters all over the stovetop! (Anyone who knows how big a neat freak I am can appreciate how happy this makes me.)
My mom would serve her chicken cacciatore over some steamed white or brown rice, but I prefer to enjoy this lighter version as is. If you wanted to bulk it up, serve it alongside a simple side salad or with some spaghetti aglio e olio!