Sunday, July 6, 2014

Chicken Cacciatore with Pappardelle

Chicken Cacciatore is a simple and delicious Italian-style chicken stew made with tomatoes and white wine. "Cacciatore" means "hunter" in Italian, so this is also known as hunter's stew. I first made this a year ago when my friend Tracey shared her recipe with me. I think she visited some cooking school on her Italian holiday and kept raving to me about chicken cacciatore. Get hold of fresh pappardelle if you can (here, I've used cracked black pepper and basil pappardelle), but otherwise, any of your favourite pasta will work too. You can omit the red peppers if you like, but I find that it lends a lovely sweetness and flavour to the dish. This is ideal for those big family dinners, where you can cook up a big batch, let it simmer on the stove while you sit, relax and have a sip or two of wine. That's stress-free cooking for you. Read on to get the recipe.

Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 50 mins


1.2kg (2 lb) chicken thigh cutlets, skin on*
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
100g pancetta, diced
2 bay leaves
1 small red pepper, sliced (optional)
2 sprigs thyme (optional)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (400g / 14oz) diced tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 tbsp butter**

600g fresh pappardelle


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan and place chicken skin-side down in the pan. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent chicken from sticking to the pan. Brown the chicken 5 minutes each side. Remove chicken from pan and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the remaining oil in the pan and saut√© for 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the pancetta, red pepper, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Saute for for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the wine, bring to a boil and simmer until it's reduced to half. Return the chicken to the pan and add tomatoes and chilli flakes (if desired). Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes, turning the chicken once halfway through. Stir in the butter towards the end and simmer for 2 minutes. Before serving, remove the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water till al dente. Drain and place on serving plates. Ladle the chicken and sauce over the pasta and serve immediately.

* Chicken thigh cutlet comes with one bone still attached
** I've added in butter to help thicken the sauce a little

Served with black pepper and basil pappardelle