Updated: May 9, 2022
The Italian queen of the screen's take on a classic recipe. Courtesy of Arthur Schwartz, Food Network.
Sophia Loren's Chicken Cacciatora
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
One 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
1 large red pepper, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
Big pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 cups canned plum tomatoes, well drained and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup torn basil leaves
In a 10 to 12 inch saute pan 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 first few pieces of chicken are almost browned and still in the pan, add the onion red pepper, saute until tender.
Arrange all the browned chicken in the pan, skin side up, and add the white wine. Season with salt and hot pepper flakes, then let the wine cook until it has almost 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 about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
Remove the chicken to a serving platter, add the basil to the pan and increase the heat to high, letting the sauce reduce for about 2 minutes. In the end, the sauce will be creamy pink.
Pour the sauce over the chicken or use it to dress pasta (reserving some for the chicken) and serve immediately.
We'll drink to that!