Pollo Alla Cacciatora (Chicken Hunter’s Style with Noodles)
A Treasury of Great Recipes is packed with amazing dishes from around the globe, but the one I return to time again is a recipe for Pollo Alla Cacciatora (Chicken Hunter’s Style with Noodles), which they picked up from the famed Royal Danieli luxury hotel in Venice, Italy. It’s amazingly simple to prepare, using the kind of ingredients that are always plentiful in my kitchen, and it tastes delicious (and at a fraction of the cost of what it probably goes for at the Danieli). Now, the recipe does call for noodles, but as pasta is never served together with a dish like this, I usually opt for steamed rice. It also recommends using polenta, which I had never tried before – but the results (after a fun and tasty trial) speak for themselves.
Here's what Vincent had to say: ‘Every little Italian restaurant in the United States features its “chicken cacciatora,” but it is far from being the most popular, or even the most typical, dish in Italy. At the Royal Danieli this chicken in its spicy sauce is served with noodles, as in this recipe, or with polenta, cornmeal mush, that has been cut into slices and fried in olive oil. It’s good either way. The real secret of this recipe’s excellence is the red wine added for the last bit of cooking. That’s the master touch.’
How to make
1 Saute: 2 chickens, about 3 pounds cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stir- each, cut into serving portions, in 4 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 cup butter for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides.
2 Add: 2 cups finely chopped onion, 1 green pepper, chopped, 4 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onion is transparent.
3 Add: 1 cup stewed tomatoes and stir to mix. Bring to a boil, cover, and ring occasionally.
4 Add: 1/2 cup dry red wine and simmer for 10 minutes longer.
5 While the chicken is cooking, cook: 8 ounces noodles in a pot of rapidly
boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain.
Serve the chicken and sauce over the hot cooked noodles, or better yet, with slices of fried polenta (see below for recipe).
Fried Polenta Slices
1 quart water
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for frying
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil for frying
How to Make It
Step 1: Lightly oil a 6-by-10-inch glass or ceramic dish.
Step 2: Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Cover and cook over low heat, whisking often, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Stir in the butter and cheese, season with salt and pepper and, while hot, pour into the dish. Let stand until room temperature and firm, about 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Step 4: Cut the polenta into 1-inch-thick slices. In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter in olive oil. Fry the polenta slices over moderate heat until golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes per side. And you should get something resembling this…