Here in Italy, when the wardrobe of shorts, tee shirts and flip-flops gives way to long pants, sweaters and socks, the old taste buds start to transition, too.
As the night air begins to chill, I immediately reach for red wine and bid ARRIVEDERCI! to the vini bianco e rosato that’ve kept me company throughout the summer.
That’s why tonight, I’m giving it a go on a popular fall/winter dish of the Tuscany region that’s prepared and enjoyed in many kitchens around the Bel Paese: Pollo alla Cacciatora (hunter-style chicken).
The basic ingredients are: one cut-up whole chicken, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, some herbs, olive oil and a nice helping of red wine, all simmered together in a covered skillet on top of the stove.
But, in my “lazy person” kitchen, I throw tradition to the wind — because, frankly, I don’t know any better — and whip up my own version complete with cut-up boneless chicken breasts, bell peppers, tomatoes, whole garlic cloves, crushed hot red pepper and red onions all mixed in a casserole dish and placed in the safety of the oven. Riding alongside is another casserole of oven-roasted herbed potatoes. Both dishes go appetizingly well together when complimented with a nice bottle of vino rosso.
Grabbing a down feather vest, I mean apron, I head quietly into the blind, I mean galley, and take aim at a couple of chicken breasts that are clearly in the sights of my Open Season Pollo.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images
Chicken Cacciatora — I was introduced to this dish by my mother (who had Italian blood in her), although she didn’t cook it but took us to an Italian restaurant here in Melbourne where they did it beautifully. Fond memories. Yours sounds just as delicious! Bon appetito!
Janina — Thanks. Glad that I was able to take you back to the days when you savored hunter-style chicken with your mom.
Just got back from the market and things are changing there, too. I had to dress warmly today and that red wine is sounding mighty nice (as is your chicken.)
Bundle up with a nice glass of red wine. 🙂
I like your site very much..! I can identify with you because I was with the Army in Vicenza 1962-1964. It changed this Texas country boy forever. (For the good) I have been back 4 times and would go again (could be ready in minutes) in a heartbeat. Weren’t the 60’s a wonderful time to be in Italy. Peace time less than an hour from Venice? Young, healthy, full of it with no great responsibilities. I got an “overseas discharge” as they called it then and stayed till my money ran out. I have pictures of Italy (mostly Venice ) in my home , stacks of books and travel about Italy. My wife calls it an obsession. I guess it is… I was inoculated for life… My favorite quote: ” To know Italy is to know her soul and fortunately that takes a lifetime.” I read this line once and knew exactly what it meant. “When I first contemplated going to Venice, I asked a friend how often he’d been. Forty-three times was the reply then said: ‘It’s that sort of place.”
Alwyn — You beat me to Caserma Ederle by a couple of years. I served my hitch from ’69 to ’72. Don’t be a stranger to my blog, come back often.
Oh, Tom, you take such yummy food photos. It is about suppertime here in Washington state and the chicken breast is very frozen and I only have some of the ingredients. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow night. 🙂
Pat — Good luck with your version of hunter-style chicken. Lemme know how it turns out.