Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore and Lemon-Herb Pasta

Before this recipe, I had never eaten Chicken Cacciatore. I've heard of it, but only on movies that are filled with gangsters planning a hit.

I don't get out much.

It's a good thing that [kah-chuh-TOR-eh] was next to Cacciatore, otherwise I'd have never known what this was! Cacciatore is Italian for "hunter's style" and refers to the way the food is prepared. It's also important to note that the chicken still has it's bones. The bones add richness and flavor to the sauce as it cooks.

I don't think the guys prepare chicken like this in hunting camp.

Do they?

Chicken Cacciatore

3 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces, skin removed, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tb. EVOO
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 (15 oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained and cut up
1 (15 0z.) can crushed tomatoes
1 onion, sliced
8 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
2 Tb. garlic, minced
1 Tb. Italian seasoning
1 t. anchovy paste
1 red bell pepper, sliced
Fresh oregano leaves
Parmesan cheese curls

Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off any excess. Brown chicken in hot oil on both sides over medium-high heat, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

Deglaze pan with wine, cooking until liquid is reduced by half. Transfer wine mixture to crock pot. Add whole and crushed tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, garlic, Italian seasoning, and anchovy paste to the slow cooker. (It's very important to drain the whole tomatoes. I only had home-canned, crushed tomatoes and used 2 quarts, so there was too much liquid at the end. BTW, I didn't mean to add 2 quarts!)

Oooo...I really love mushrooms!

Cover cacciatore; cook until chicken is tender, on low-heat for approximately 4 hours. Add bell pepper, cover, and cook another 30 minutes more.

Meanwhile, while peppers are cooking, start the pasta.

Lemon-Herb Pasta
8 oz. dried bow-tie pasta (or your favorite)
2 Tb. lemon zest
2 Tb. fresh lemon juice
2 Tb. unsalted butter
2 Tb. chopped fresh oregano leaves
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to bowl. Toss pasta with lemon zest, juice and butter. Add oregano just before serving.

I have to tell you, I am not a big fan of pasta. But this pasta was so delicious, that I'm going to use this recipe as a side-dish to other recipes.

And of course, I will be making this again!
*My advise on choosing the chicken for this dish...use the pieces that don't have small bones in them. I had some breast pieces with rib bones still attached and we were having to pick them out of our meal. Next time, I'll probably just use thighs and very clean breasts.


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