1. In a 10- to 12-inch saute pan with cover,
heat the oil over medium-high heat and when it is hot, brown the
chicken on the skin side first, then the underside. Do not crowd
the pan. Brown the chicken in batches if necessary, setting aside
the browned chicken on a plate until the rest is done.
2. When the last few pieces of chicken
are almost browned and still in the pan, add the onion and rosemary
sprigs (or dried rosemary) and saute until the onion is tender.
3. Arrange all the browned chicken in the
pan, skin side up, and add the white wine. Season with salt and
hot red pepper flakes, then let the wine cook until it has almost
entirely evaporated, just a couple of minutes. While it is reducing,
turn the chicken in the liquid once or twice, but leave it skin
side up at the end.
4. Add the tomatoes. Cover the pan, lower
the heat, and let cook at a gentle simmer, without turning, for
about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
5. Remove the chicken to a serving platter,
increase the heat to high and let the sauce reduce for about 2 minutes.
In the end, the sauce will be a creamy pink (rosé, Neapolitans
6. Pour the sauce over the chicken and
In her 1971 cookbook, In The Kitchen
With Love, Sophia Loren says that it is sweet red peppers that
make chicken cacciatore really Neapolitan, although no Neapolitan
I have asked -- culinary experts, cooks, life-long residents of
the city -- seem to agree. "Well, of course, Sophia Loren is from
Pozzuoli," they say, as if that was a foreign or far-off town while
it is actually adjacent to Naples. When driving along the sea road,
you can't even tell where one ends and the other begins.
Truly Neapolitan or not, Loren's version
is, however, particularly delicious. Follow the directions for classic
Pollo alla Cacciatore, but leave out the rosemary and add, with
the onion, 1 medium to large sweet red pepper, seeded, cut into
strips no wider than 1/2 inch and no longer than 3 inches. Just
before removing the chicken from the heat (or when the sauce becomes
reduced to taste), add about 1/3 cup torn or cut basil. Stir well
and simmer a few seconds before removing from the heat.