Quick Chicken Cacciatore
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (3 pieces) or, 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs, if you prefer dark meat
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 portobello mushroom caps, halved crosswise and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- 1/2 cup beef broth or stock
- 1 (28-ounces) can crushed tomatoes
- A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 pound egg ribbons or egg fettuccini, cooked to al dente
- Crusty bread and grated Parmigiano or Romano, for passing
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add half of the extra-virgin olive oil and brown chicken breasts or thighs for 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and season with salt and pepper.
Return pan to stove, reduce heat to medium and add the remaining. Add crushed pepper, sliced mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt (salt is a magnet for drawing out liquid). Cover and cook mushrooms 5 minutes or until mushrooms are dark, tender and have given off their juices. Add about 1/2 cup of beef broth to intensify the wild mushroom flavor, then stir in the tomatoes and parsley. Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks or slices and add to sauce. Simmer sauce 5 minutes to finish cooking chicken pieces and to allow the flavors to combine. Toss pasta with cacciatore and serve with crusty bread and grated cheese.
Tidbits: Beef broth and stock is now available in resealable paper containers, which can be found on the soup aisle of your market. These paper containers make storage of remaining broth easier; keep some on hand in your refrigerator. Beef broth is used instead of chicken broth in this recipe because it pairs better with the beefy taste of portobello mushrooms. The broth will make your cacciatore taste as if it simmered all day because it accents the mushroom taste well.
Depending on your brand, 1 large can of tomatoes can vary in weight from 28 to 32 ounces. Use your favorite, but check to make sure the product is sugar free.