A quick and easy way to make Chicken Cacciatore – The Mercury News

A quick and easy way to make Chicken Cacciatore – The Mercury News

Chicken Cacciatore is a beloved braise with Italian roots. There are many variations in Italy, most often based on the ingredients available in specific regions. In southern Italy, cacciatore often includes red wine, while cooks in northern Italy often use white wine. Some versions use mushrooms, while others incorporate salami.

Here the cacciatore sauce teams with pasta, either penne, ziti or fusilli. I like to add dried red chili flakes to the dish, but they can easily be omitted to make a milder version. The recipe doubles beautifully using a larger pot.

Pasta with Chicken Cacciatore Sauce

Serves 2


1 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus salt for cooking pasta

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

4 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed, quartered

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1/4 cup dry red wine

14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

6 ounces penne, ziti or fusilli pasta

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Pat chicken dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and onion; cook until softened and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme and pepper flakes (if using). Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

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Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and their juice; simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and any accumulated juices and simmer until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes (chicken should be thoroughly cooked at this point). Taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring about 2 quarts of salted water to a boil on high heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring often, until cooked al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking water. Drain pasta and return to pan.

Add sauce to pasta and cook over medium heat until heated through, about 1 minute. Adjust consistency with reserved pasta water as needed. Stir in parsley. Taste again and add more salt, and/or pepper if needed. Serve.

— “The Everyday Athlete Cookbook” from America’s Test Kitchen ($30)

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