Monday, May 17, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

This is my version of chicken cacciatore created by looking at a couple of different versions and using what I had around my house. It was my first time making it and I must say, it came out pretty good. My husband even went back for a little a bit of seconds, which is always a sign of success. I'll definitely be making this again.

2 Tbsps olive oil
1 and half pounds chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1/4 thick-cut pancetta or bacon, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounce package of mushrooms, sliced (any kind you like, regular button, baby bellas or portabellas)
1/2 cup dry red wine (I used a white because that is what I had, but a red would probably be better)
1 cup beef stock (could also use chicken stock, but the beef adds a richer flavor and goes well with the mushrooms)
1 (15 ounce) can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 tsp tomato paste (enriches the tomato flavor)
a handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb whole grain spaghetti

Season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and chicken. Let the chicken cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn it and brown the opposite side for 2-3 minutes. Once the chicken is brown and cooked through, transfer it to a plate and reserve.

At this point, put a large pot of water on to boil. Once it comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt, add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the bacon to the pan and let crisp for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stir for 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms and brown for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until deep brown and tender. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper after they've browned. (At this point the pasta water should be boiling and you can add the spaghetti.)

Add the wine to the pan with the mushrooms to deglaze the pan and reduce it for 30 seconds, then stir in the beef stock, tomato sauce and peeled tomatoes, crushing them in your hand as you add them to the pan. Add the tomato paste. Bring the sauce up to a bubble and add the chicken back to the pan. Simmer for five minutes. Add the parsley.

Drain your pasta and divide among four plates. Top with the cacciatore sauce and serve with grated cheese.

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