The current issue (Oct.) of Food & Wine magazine is dedicated to Italian-American classics. Seeing that I was brought up on many of these dishes, I couldn’t wait to dive in and see just what was inside the magazine. As I’m sure you may know, many of the dishes that we grew up thinking of as Italian food, were actually recipes that came about here in the USA. They were made by Italian immigrants, but were influenced by the bounty of food available here in their new home. Spaghetti and meatballs-two items that you won’t find together on a menu in Italy. Yes-they do have meatballs- polpette or polpettini– but they are typically served on their own, not with spaghetti.
In addition to the Italian-American favorites, there was also a great article on authentic dishes from Rome. Ahhh, Roma. I love that city and haven’t spent nearly enough time there, although on one trip we did get to stay for eight glorious nights. This recipe reminded me of a dinner we had on our last visit at a trattoria tucked away on a back street. Earlier in the day we spied the restaurant as we walked around aimlessly, drinking in the beauty in each and every building. We looked at each other and said “we’ll be back”. This chicken dish reminds me of the dinner I ordered that night-chicken and peppers in a sauce with wine and tomatoes that’s perfect for sopping up with some crusty bread. Until our return-I’ll let this be our little bit of Roma…
Roman-Style Braised Chicken with Roasted Peppers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces, breasts halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup dry white wine
2-1/2 pounds tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper-roasted, peeled and sliced into 1″ strips *
1 yellow bell pepper-roasted, peeled and sliced into 1″ strips *
1 green bell pepper-roasted, peeled and sliced into 1″ strips *
Heat a large saute pan and add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken pieces and season with them with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, until they are evenly browned, about 6 minutes. Do not over crowd the pan, do in two batches if necessary. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper to pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring until golden, about 1 minute. Add the wine and boil over high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes along with the chicken and its accumulated juices. Cover the pan and braise the chicken over low heat, turning once, until the breast pieces are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer the breast pieces to a bowl. Continue braising until the legs, thighs and wings are done, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer them to the bowl.
Boil the sauce in the pan over high heat until reduced by one-third, about 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and add the roasted peppers. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread. Serves: 4
* You can use roasted peppers from a jar if you don’t want to go to the trouble of roasting them yourself.