Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pollo alla Cacciatora

recipe courtesy Mario Batali, from Molto Italiano

makes 4 servings.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 branch rosemary, leaves only, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
one 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces, rinsed and patted dry
2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 pound portobella mushrooms, stems removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch dice
4 ribs celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce (recipe below)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
pinch of sugar
pinch of hot red pepper flakes

1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, and add enough olive oil to make a somewhat dry paste (3 to 4 tablespoons). Add the chicken and rub the paste evenly over the pieces of chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. In a dutch oven, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over high heat until smoking. Brush the excess rub from the bird, and sear the chicken, in batches if necessary, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

3. Add the onions, mushrooms, pancetta, and celery to the pot and cook until the onions are golden brown and the pancetta has rendered its fat, about 8 minutes. Drain off the excess oil, then add the tomato sauce and wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the stock, sugar, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil.

4. Return the chicken to the pot, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cool until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a festive platter, top with the sauce, and serve.

Basic Tomato Sauce
makes 4 cups

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes

1. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook until the carrot is soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, with their juice, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer until as thick as hot cereal, about 30 minutes. Season with salt. This sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for 6 months.

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