08 January 2011

Italian Braised Thighs and Peppers

Remember that scene in La Dolce Vita when that wonderfully decadent and daft actress staggers around the fountain that's bubbling away in Rome? I totally flashed on that scene tonight as I watched these naked chicken thighs bubbling away in their bath of Prosecco and fire-roasted tomatoes ... all dosed up with garlic and chili flakes ... talk about heaven and hell! Fellini would have been proud ... er, but he'd probably have cuffed the side of my head for using canned tomatoes. Let's all say it together, "Get over it, Federico!"

So here we are with peppers in tricolors, those little boiling onions, boneless chicken thighs, more Prosecco than you can shake a stick at, pasta in the cupboard, and a winter day that is screaming out for a good comfort food fix... what's a girl to do? I popped the last bottle of Prosecco to sip, used the other bottle that was already opened for the 'six naked thighs in a fountain', pulled the peppers and onions left from the NYE dinner party salad prep, used fire-roasted tomatoes from a can in the pantry, and braised all together to make a nice hot slurry for a bed of herbed pasta.

Notice, I say herbed pasta. There are no herbs in the braised thighs, to speak of.  Garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper - that's it. All the greeniness is saved for a plate of doctored spaghettini ... which I have been known to snack on all on its own ... with good cheese for sprinkling. Tonight, though, we'll use those herbs to round out the braised thighs and vegetables. Make this if you have the junk in your fridge ... so tasty! Drink Prosecco with it, just so you can feel like that daffy blonde in the fountain. Salut!

First things, first ... here's the link for the pasta preparation ... so easy and tasty!

Herbed Pasta

Moving on ...
Italian Braised Chicken Thighs
Serves: 2-3


6 boneless chicken thighs, rinsed and dried
4 tbsp. good-quality olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ c. dry white wine
½ - ¾ lb. tomatoes, seeded, and chopped coarsely
8 boiling onions, skinned and halved
1 small green pepper, cored and seeded and sliced into large wedge
1 small sweet red pepper, ditto
1 small yellow pepper, ditto

Note: Fire roasting enhances the flavor of this dish. I am lazy tonight, so I used fire-roasted tomatoes from a can to get the flavor. If you like, use fresh tomatoes (summertime, only!) and roast the peppers before chopping into wedges.

Making the Dish:

1. Heat a heavy casserole ( enameled cast iron, or flameproof claypot) over medium high heat with the olive oil.

2. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken thighs. Salt and pepper liberally and brown on all sides – about 6-8 minutes.

3. Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes and continue cooking until the garlic is golden.

4. Pour the white wine over all and stir to loosen any bits from the pan.

5. Reduce the wine to ¼ of the volume and then add the tomatoes.

6. Bring to a hearty bubble and then top with the onions and peppers.

7. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer just until the peppers are tender crisp and the sauce is slightly thickened.

8. Serve alongside an herbed pasta with cheese for sprinkling and a crusty bread for mopping up the sauces.

Not the best picture, but it's all I got ... and the food's getting cold ...

Pssst! - Last year, this time ...Winter Minestrone 


  1. Yummy! I love food like this when it's cold and with a bit of 'heat' too. Expecting snow tomorrow. May have to whip this up.

    Have a giveaway today on my blog Susan, pop by. Insider tip: another, totally different one Wednesday. You won't want to miss this, trust me. Come by! Hope your new year has begun wonderfully!

  2. @ Boulder - Thanks, dearie! I'll be by ... it's been a while!

  3. I'm Italian and this dish is right up my alley. Right now I'm on weight watchers , but this recipe is doable with a few tweeks for the time being. Thanks for the ideas!!!

  4. Thank you so much for letting me know about the truffle butter, I really appreciate it!

    Your recipe looks delicious, I love peppers, especially red & yellow, and who doesn't love pasta! This will probably be making an appearance on my dinner menu - soon!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Now if you used San Marzano tomatoes, Federico would not have anything to complain about! Whatever you used, that dish is beautiful with all of the colors and I can just imagine how wonderful it smelled as it was bubbling.

  6. Oh what could be better than a recipe that uses just a little bit of a bottle of prosecco! Mark and I buy it by the case! And this is a wonderful excuse to pop a cork and drink most of the bottle. Thanks.


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