Aired September 11, 2015
About 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2-inch thick
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
2 red chili pepper, such as finger or Fresno, seeded and halved lengthwise then thinly sliced OR substitute 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red bell pepper for less heat
1 sprig fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, lightly crushed in your palm
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 to 4 ounces (about 3 to 4 inches) good quality pepperoni, casing removed and coarsely grated or very thinly sliced into matchsticks (preferred brand Vermont Smoke and Cure Smoked Pepperoni available online and at some Whole Foods)
1/2 cup dry red or white wine
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, grated or very thinly sliced, for topping
A few leaves of basil, torn
Heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides then add to hot pan. Brown on both sides then remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Add another turn of olive oil to the pan along with the onion, garlic, chilies, oregano, salt and pepper; stir 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir a minute; add pepperoni and stir again. Add wine and scrape up drippings; add tomatoes and a few leaves basil. Simmer 20 minutes.
Preheat broiler and place a rack in the center of the oven.
Arrange chicken in the sauce so it’s submerged. Top with mozzarella and transfer skillet to the oven. Let brown and bubble, remove and top with a few additional leaves of basil. Serve from hot skillet.
This dish was made famous in an old Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn movie, Seems Like Old Times. In the movie, Aurora the housekeeper’s recipe is a favorite of the Governor of California. I think my version may be popular with families and politicians alike.