Do you ever get a craving for Italian food and that particular taste of sun, salt and tasty ripe tomatoes? I do, especially on warm summer days, but when the weather is nice, I like dinner meals to be easy and convenient so I get to spend time outside rather than hours chopping away in the kitchen. This easy chicken puttanesca almost takes care of itself in the oven, while you get to relax in a deckchair on the patio, yet, it still has lots of those wonderful Italian flavors I love. So it really is a win win dish.
Literally, the name of the dish translates into ‘chicken, prostitute style’, and allegedly it was named so because it is very quick and easy to make, even something you can cram in in-between other chores. Nowadays you’ll find many variations of the dish all over Italy, as different towns have put their own signature on it. However, the basic ingredients usually include tomatoes, olives, capers and garlic. While a lot of recipes also have anchovies, I’ve left them out here, but if you find that anchovies are an absolutely heavenly ingredient, you can easily add them to the sauce.
Chicken with puttanesca sauce and parsley pesto pasta (serves 4 as a main)
4 large chicken leg quarters
2-3 tbsp canola (rapeseed) oil
3/4 lbs (350 g) cherry or heirloom tomatoes, halved or cut into bite size pieces
1 large can or 2 small cans diced tomatoes, about 28 oz (800 ml)
4-6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp brown sugar or honey
Small handful fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
3.5 oz (100 ml) red wine
About 3.5 oz (100 ml) capers (1 small glass), drained
About 7 oz (200 g) pitted and halved black olives
3.5 oz (100 ml) olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls/1 large bunch Italian parsley
About 10 oz (300 g) dry tagliatelle, fettucine or spaghetti
Optional: bread or baguette on the side (great for scooping up that nice puttanesca sauce!)
1. Start by preheating the oven to 400 F (200 C). Then season the chicken leg quarters well with salt and pepper, and quickly brown them at high heat in a pan with canola oil for just 5 minutes. Place them in a large and deep oven proof dish or pan.
2. In a bowl mix the canned tomatoes, fresh, diced tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar/honey and red wine and season with salt and pepper. Distribute the mix evenly over the chicken leg quarters. Then sprinkle the fresh oregano over it all and put in the oven for 30 min.
3. While the chicken is cooking in the oven, wash the parsley well and then mix with the olive oil and blend it with a handheld blender or chopper. Set aside for later.
4. After 30 min. in the oven, add the capers and olives to the chicken and tomato sauce, stir into the sauce a bit, and then leave to cook in the oven for another 15 min.
5. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack, and just before serving with the chicken puttanesca, pour the parsley pesto over the pasta and mix together.
If you’d like ideas for other delicious and easy summer dishes, here are a few of our favorites: