Nonna knows. She knows what’s good, she knows what’s good for you, and she’s serving it up in this delightfully easy and comforting dish. Hearty without being heavy, all the good veggies in a sauce that’ll make you sit up straight and ask for seconds. Pull up a chair, there’s always room at Nonna’s table.
By: Renée Gabbett
Your Chef will lead you through all the techniques so prepping ahead of class is optional
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- ½ ounce (½ cup) dried mushrooms, like porcini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 to 8 skinless chicken legs and/or thighs (thighs can be boneless)
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 small carrot, minced
- 3 ribs celery, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ pound mixed mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 – 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in juice
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Italian Mashed Potatoes:
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and halved
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- ½ small yellow onion, peeled
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- freshly grated nutmeg (about ¼ – ½ teaspoon)
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- For the Chicken Cacciatore: Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl or heat-proof glass measuring cup and pour on 2 cups boiling water. Steep for about 15 minutes or until mushrooms are softened. Drain through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel and set over a bowl. Rinse the mushrooms in several changes of water then squeeze out the excess water. Roughly chop them and set aside. Measure out 1 cup of the soaking liquid and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken and sear until brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken pieces to a bowl; repeat as needed to cook all the chicken. Pour off the fat from the pan but no need to wipe it clean.
- Turn the heat back to medium, add the remaining oil and the onion, carrot and celery, as well as a 3 finger pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Cover and turn the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the mixture is soft and aromatic.
- Stir in the fresh and dried mushrooms and turn the heat back up to medium. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the wine and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until the wine has reduced by about half. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down a little and smell fragrant. Stir in the mushroom soaking liquid that you set aside.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan and stir so that they are well submerged in the tomato mixture. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve with Italian Style Mashed Potatoes (recipe below).
For the Italian style Mashed Potatoes
- Add the potatoes, garlic and the onion to a pot filled with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
- Combine the milk, butter, olive oil, salt and nutmeg in a small pot and heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is very warm. Keep it warm until you add it to the potatoes.
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain them very well and return the pot to the heat. Gently mash to release heat and moisture and allow to rest, gently stirring occasionally, until the steam has been released. Remove the pot from the heat and mash them using a potato masher or a ricer.
- Add the grated cheese and the milk mixture, gradually folding with a spatula until you get a creamy, silky consistency (you may not need all the milk, but you’ll notice that the potatoes as they sit will absorb a lot of liquid). Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.