If you don't follow me, 1) you should, but 2) no big deal - I'm getting ready to tell you about it.
I know I sound like a broken record when I say that I love eating and making Italian food. But sometimes the same old meatballs, meat sauce, or - dare I say it? - alfredo sauce can become somewhat insipid. I find myself watching episodes of The Soprano's (final season heyyy) and rewinding scenes to hear what exactly Carmella plans to make Sunday dinner. That New Jersey accent is just so thick...
So I went hunting through old magazines and websites trying to find easy, delicious Italian/Italian-American cooking trying to think outside the pasta box. This scrumptious chicken with sweet peppers in a buttery wine sauce, also known as Chicken Scarpariello, drew me in.
"Scarpariello" means "shoemaker style" which can mean two things: that the dish is so meager it could be made by poor shoemaker families, or that the dish contains a handful ordinary ingredients which it can easily be thrown together. In this case, the name is fitting: the ingredients are foods easily found or already in the kitchen (rosemary/garlic/wine/etc.)
Speaking of ingredients, there are many variations of this recipe, but most, including this one, call for the chicken to be topped with jarred sweet cherry peppers. I can find these in Kroger but would also suggest Peppadew peppers, found online or at Whole Foods. Both Peppadew and sweet cherry give a nice "sweet and sour" flavor.
I used boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe just because dark meat, in my opinion, is more flavorful and juicy than white meat. I also included about a half a pound of sweet Italian sausage - totally optional, but it pairs wonderfully with those sweet peppers.
Serve with warm, crusty bread to lop up the sauce.
So, shoemaker style or gourmet cooking? You tell me!
- 8 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 pounds)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise and lightly smashed
- 4 large rosemary sprigs, broken into 2-inch pieces
- 1 3/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sweet cherry peppers, sliced
- optional: 1/2 pound cooked and sliced sweet Italian sausage, (2 large links)
1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. The pan should be hot enough so that the chicken sizzles immediately when it is added. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned and crusty on both sides. This should take about 10 minutes, depending on how crowded the pan is.
2. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 3 minutes until the garlic is lightly browned. Transfer the chicken to a platter or cutting board, leaving the garlic and rosemary in the skillet.
3. Add the stock and wine to the skillet and cook over high heat, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and butter and swirl until combined.
4. Return the chicken (and add sliced sausage if using) back to the skillet. Add the peppers and cook, turning the chicken so it's fully coated in the sauce, about 3 minutes. Plate the chicken, spooning sauce on top, and serve with crusty bread.