"In Italy, chicken is still considered rather special - so much so that it is used in relatively few dishes compared to other meats," says Stefano Manfredi. "In Italian supermarkets, one is struck by the quality of the birds and their presentation as well as their relatively high price. The heads and feet are almost always left intact (these give great flavour to broths and stocks) and the birds are differentiated by type - roosters, hens, young, old, roasters, boilers and so on. Italy consumes less chicken than most EU countries, so the pressure to produce a huge amount of cheap chicken meat is not as great as it is in Australia. Use the best-quality chicken you can find - I suggest organic or at least pasture-raised."
- 120 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs (200gm each)
- 4 chicken drumsticks (120gm each)
- 50 gm (⅓ cup) plain flour
- 1 large red capsicum, seeds removed, cut into 1cm-thick slices
- 1 large yellow capsicum, seeds removed, cut into 1cm-thick slices
- 1 celery heart, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, cut into thin wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 300 ml dry white wine
- 250 gm cherry tomatoes, halved
- 200 ml tomato passata
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1Rinse chicken pieces well and pat dry. Heat half the oil in a very large frying pan over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken pieces in flour, shake off excess and fry, turning occasionally, until well browned (5-6 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside to drain on paper towels.
- 2Wipe pan clean and heat remaining oil. Add capsicum, celery, onion and garlic and stir continuously until capsicum starts to soften (4-5 minutes). Add wine and cook until liquid evaporates (3-4 minutes). Add cherry tomatoes, passata and bay leaf, and squash tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a coating consistency (3-5 minutes).
- 3Return chicken to pan and reduce heat to low-medium. Add a good pinch or two of salt and a couple of turns of black pepper and simmer until the juices run clear when chicken is pierced near the bone with a sharp knife (10 minutes). Turn chicken occasionally towards the end
of the cooking time, and add a little hot water if the liquid reduces too much.
- 4Stir in parsley, season to taste and remove from heat. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving.