Tuscan Chicken In Tomato Sauce
Pollo Al Sugo Con I Rocchini, from Tuscany published March 2011, AUD$49.95. www.phaidon.com
Preparation time: 25 mins Cooking time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 4- 6
3- 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme, finely chopped
1 sprig basil, finely chopped
1x 1.5 – 2kg chicken, cut into pieces
175ml (3/4 cup) red wine
1 tablespoon tomato puree (paste) or 6 tomatoes (some unripe) peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and pepper
For the rocchini:
1 head celery, coarse talks removed
Plain (all purpose) flour for dusting
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Grated parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, celery, parsley, thyme and basil and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
Add the pieces of chicken, increase the heat to medium and cook, turning frequently, for 10 – 15 minutes, until evenly browned.
Season with salt and pepper, pour in wine and cook until the alcohol is evaporated. If using tomato puree (paste), mix it with the 175 ml (3/4 cup) warm water and stir it into the pan. If using fresh tomatoes, stir them into the pan.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Test by piercing the thickest part; if the juices run clear, the chicken is ready.
To make the rocchini, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cut the tender celery stalks into 10cm (4 inch) lengths. Add the celery to the pan and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, then drain and mash into a paste.
Form into balls. Spread out the flour in a shallow dish and beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in another dish. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 180 – 190° C or until a day old cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.
Dip the celery paste balls first into the flour and then into the beaten egg. Add them to the hot oil in batches and cook until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Transfer the chicken pieces to a warmed serving dish and add a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Add the rocchini to the remaining sauce and cook for a few minutes until softened. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, transfer to the serving dish and serve immediately.
What’s your favourite Italian recipe?