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Rachael's Chicken Cacciatore

Rachael's Chicken Cacciatore


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, about 1 cup

  • 2 cups chicken stock, or half-n-half chicken and beef stock

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 turns of the pan

  • 8 pieces skin-on, bone-in chicken, I use a mix of breast and thigh

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/4 pound meaty pancetta, chopped

  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 2 celery with leafy tops, chopped

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 small leek, quartered lengthwise and chopped

  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

  • 1 scant tablespoon red chili paste, or 1 fresh red chili, finely chopped, or 1 ½ teaspoons chili flakes

  • 1 generous bundle rosemary and thyme, tied with kitchen string (a small handful of each)

  • 2 large fresh bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon juniper, 1/3 palmful (optional)

  • 4 tablespoons sundried tomato paste, or tomato paste

  • 1 cup red wine

  • One 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes or canned tomatoes

  • One 24-ounce jar passata or tomato puree, 3 cups

  • 1 pound rigatoni, pici, bucatini or pappardelle pasta

  • Pecorino cheese, to toss and to serve

  • Chopped parsley, to serve


Place rack at center oven and preheat to 350˚F.

In a small pot over medium heat, simmer the dried mushrooms and the stock to reconstitute the mushrooms and flavor the stock.

In a large Dutch oven with a lid, heat 3 tablespoons oil, 3 turns of the pan. Add 4 pieces of chicken at a time, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown chicken skin-side down, then turn, browning each batch about 8 minutes. Remove and drain off excess fat, leaving an even layer about equal to the original layer but now it will be a mix of chicken fat and olive oil. Add the pancetta and stir 2 minutes, then add the carrot, celery, onion, leek, garlic, chili paste or chilies, herb bundle and bay, cook to soften 8 minutes more, add in juniper and then tomato paste, stir a minute, add wine, add tomatoes and break them up, add passata and the mushrooms and stock, stir to combine, then nest the chicken carefully into the pot, bring to a boil, cover and place in oven for 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta the last 10-15 minutes of the chicken’s roasting time.

When the chicken comes out, transfer the meat to a platter and cover with a little foil. Remove the herb bundle and bay from the sauce and keep at a simmer, whisking to thicken and combine.

Salt boiling water and cook pasta 1-2 minutes shy of package directions, reserving a cup of the cooking water just before draining. Combine pasta with half the sauce, cooking water, about 1 cup of cheese, adding more sauce to liking.

Serve chicken topped with a bit more sauce alongside pasta with a sprinkle of parsley, and pass more cheese at table.