The Italian Chicken Dinner I Make Over and Over Again for My Family

published Sep 21, 2021
Eat
Pollo ai Peperoni Recipe (Cacciatora Southern-Style Chicken Stew with Peppers)

Super-tender chicken and sweet bell peppers are cooked in a tangy white wine sauce in this light summer dinner.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook45 minutes

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pollo ai pepperoni in cast iron skillet
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

I’m more of a baker than a cook, but there is one recipe I always enjoy making: pollo ai peperoni, or chicken stew with peppers. My parents actually refer to it as “Andrea’s chicken” because whenever I’m responsible for dinner at their house, this is the dish I make.

In 2014, I was lucky enough to visit Italy with my parents and take a Kosher Italian cooking course at Scuola di Art Culinaria “Cordon Bleu,” the oldest operating cooking academy in Tuscany. Under the instruction of Cristina Blasi and Gabriella Mari, the co-founders and directors of the school, we learned how to make dishes from Tuscany, Northern Italy, and Southern Italy. Of the many delicious dishes we made (zucchini risotto, pappa al pomodoro, homemade pasta), the pollo ai peperoni is the one I still make to this day.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

My Favorite Chicken Dinner of All Time

I’ve made this dish so many times it feels like second nature. The recipe is pretty straightforward and very forgiving, so don’t worry about being too precise. You simply cook garlic and rosemary until fragrant, sear the chicken and sauté the peppers, then add white wine and vinegar and let the whole thing simmer. Traditionally it’s made with peperoni cruschi, or dry, crispy, sweet peppers from Southern Italy. This version swaps in regular bell peppers for a fresh and summery spin, and the result is super-tender chicken and sweet peppers that balance out the tangy sauce.

Although this dish would be great for impressing guests (it’s so delicious yet deceptively simple), I usually make it for Shabbat dinner for my family. The most recent time I made it, there was barely any left in the pan — my dad even had to warn me to get some before it was gone. It’s a dish that brings me joy and never fails to put a smile on my face. Serve it with potatoes, pasta, or rice — or really anything starchy to soak up extra sauce. It truly is the perfect chicken dinner.

Pollo ai Peperoni Recipe (Cacciatora Southern-Style Chicken Stew with Peppers)

Super-tender chicken and sweet bell peppers are cooked in a tangy white wine sauce in this light summer dinner.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium red bell pepper

  • 1

    medium yellow bell pepper

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 sprigs

    fresh rosemary

  • 1/2 cup

    dry white wine

  • 1/2 cup

    white wine vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Cooked potatoes, pasta, or rice, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Dice 1 medium red bell pepper and 1 medium yellow bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. Crush 4 garlic cloves. Pat 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt.

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and 2 fresh rosemary sprigs and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add half the chicken to the pan in a single layer and sear undisturbed until golden brown on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and sear the second side, 2 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Repeat searing the remaining chicken and transfer to the plate.

  3. Add the bell peppers to the pan and sauté until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and let simmer until almost evaporated, 7 to 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup white wine vinegar and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the chicken is fork tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper is needed. Serve with cooked potatoes, pasta, or rice if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Recipe reprinted with permission from The School of Culinary Arts Cordon Bleu Florence.