Pollo alla cacciatora
Naples - Campania
Preparation - Medium
Serves 4

Cacciatora, which in Campania is a strikingly simple dish of chicken braised in tomato sauce, is the most popular way of cooking chicken in the region and, strangely, in a place where no one agrees on anything, everyone uses rosemary as the herb and onion, not garlic, in the sauce.

  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 3- to 3-1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and each breast cut in half crosswise)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced, or 3 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 4- to 5-inch sprigs rosemary or 2 t dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/2 - 1 t hot pepper flakes
  • 2 cups canned plum tomatoes, well drained and coarsely chopped
OO Large, heavy frying pan/stew pot/casserole with cover.

HEAT the oil over medium-high heat, and when it is hot, brown the chicken on the skin side first, then the underside. Do not crowd the pan. Brown the chicken in batches if necessary, setting aside the browned chicken on a plate until the rest is done.

WHEN the last few pieces of chicken are almost browned and still in the pan, add the onion and rosemary sprigs (or dried rosemary) and saute' until the onion is tender.

ARRANGE all the browned chicken in the pan, skin side up, and add the white wine. Season with salt and hot red pepper flakes, then let the wine cook until it has alinost entirely evaporated, just a couple of minutes. While it is reducing, turn the chicken in the liquid once or twice, but leave it skin side up at the end.

ADD the tomatoes. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and let cook at a gentle simmer, without turning, for 30 - 60 minutes, or until the chicken is done (pierced easily with a fork).

REMOVE the chicken to a serving platter, increase the heat to high, and let the sauce reduce for about 2 minutes. In the end, the sauce will be a creamy pink (rose', Neapolitans say).

POUR the sauce over the chicken or use it to dress pasta (reserving some for the chicken) and serve immediately.





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