Rome recipe: Pollo alla Romana

Recipe for Roman-style chicken with peppers.

A homecooked classic, this Roman-style chicken dish is a wonderful summer recipe which makes the most of the season’s bright, plump, bell peppers. Tender pieces of chicken are slowly cooked with tomato, peppers and onion until the meat is falling off the bone and the sauce becomes succulent, sweet and sticky. A true crowd-pleaser, in Rome it is commonly served for lunch on the Ferragosto holiday.

The recipe is in itself very simple and just requires a little time to prepare the peppers and let the ingredients work their magic. Although the dish can be served piping hot, it is just as satisfying when left to rest until room-temperature and should be served with plenty of bread to mop up the mouth-watering juices. Just make sure you have enough leftovers to pack into a sandwich the next day.

Pollo con i peperoni
1 chicken, cut into pieces
4 red and yellow peppers
1 onion, roughly sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled
500ml tomato passata
1 small bunch of fresh basil
½ glass white wine
½ glass extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

To begin, preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the whole peppers on a baking tray, drizzle them lightly with oil and cook for 15 minutes until the skin starts to blister. Remove the peppers and, while still hot, put them into a plastic bag, tie the top and leave for 1 hour. Then remove the skins, slice into 1cm strips and put to one side.

Meanwhile, heat the rest of the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the garlic clove until it starts to turn golden, then add the pieces of chicken and season with salt and pepper. Fry the chicken until the skin has browned and then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes before pouring in the white wine. After a couple of minutes, once the alcohol has evaporated, add the tomato passata and the fresh basil leaves, check the seasoning, adding more salt if required.

Turn down the heat, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce becomes too dry add a little water to loosen it up.

Add the sliced, peeled peppers, stir and then cook for a further 15 minutes before serving.

By Kate Zagorski

Kate Zagorski has lived in Italy since 2000. Married to a food-obsessed Roman chef, she leads food tours and also works as a freelance food and travel writer. For more of her recipes see Wanted in Rome page.