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Wild Cacciatore

Serves 6 servings

Originally aired

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups chicken stock (eyeball it)
  • 1 ounce (half of a 2-ounce package) dried wild mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 packages (about 2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup flour (eyeball it)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed from stem and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry red wine (eyeball it)
  • 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 box whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • A handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
PREPARATION

Place the chicken stock in a small saucepot over high heat and bring up to a bubble. Once bubbling, add the dried mushrooms, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let steep while you get the rest of the meal working.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Season the chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss them in the flour to coat. Shake off any excess flour, transfer the pieces to the hot skillet and brown, about 2-3 minutes for each side. Remove browned chicken to a plate and reserve.

Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, bay leaf, rosemary and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook, stirring every now and then until the mushrooms have browned up and the onions start to get tender.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the steeping mushrooms from the chicken stock to a cutting board, chop them coarsely and add them to the skillet along with the red wine. Cook a couple of minutes, then ladle in the fortified chicken stock, being careful to leave some stock behind so you don't pour any grit from the mushrooms that has settled at the bottom of the saucepot into the sauce.

Add the can of plum tomatoes to the skillet and crush them up a little with a potato masher. Add in the browned chicken and let the whole mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until it has thickened up.

Once you have everything in the chicken skillet and it is simmering, place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add some salt and the pasta, and cook according to the package directions.

Once al dente, drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Add two ladles of the sauce to the pasta and toss with the Romano cheese. To serve, ladle the pasta into shallow bowls and top with more chicken, mushroom sauce, cheese and parsley.

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