Marcella Hazan’s Chicken Cacciatore

My mom made Chicken Cacciatore when I was a kid, and I remember liking it a lot. To be fair, there were very few foods that I didn’t like, a trait I took with me into adulthood. Sadly, I don’t have her recipe. So, when I got the urge to make this dish a few weeks ago, I turned to the best: Marcella Hazan, and found her recipe for “Chicken Fricassee, Cacciatora Style”. You can find the recipe in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. It has also been featured on any number of cooking and recipe sites, which can easily be found by searching the web.

“Cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian. Dishes “all cacciatora” are prepared “hunter-style”, meaning simple recipes with few ingredients and prepared in a single pan. Chicken and rabbit or the most common meats used.

I made a few changes to Marcella’s recipe, reflecting our taste in chicken: bone-in, skin-on thighs for me and boneless, skinless breasts for my wife. The recipe specifies “olive oil”, but I used EVO, rather than the lower-grade oil typically used for cooking in Italian kitchens. Otherwise, I used the best-quality ingredients I could find (and afford), and tried to faithfully follow the recipe. The vegetables are organic from the Laguna Beach Farmers Market. The chicken is organic, air-dried, from Bristol Farms in Newport Beach. I found the organic flour and other ingredients, except for the olive oil, at Gelson’s in Dana Point. I buy California Olive Ranch EVO online because the price is less than what the local grocers charge.

Notice my well-used Calphalon sauté pan, now considered “vintage”. I bought this when they were still made in Toledo, OH, before the company became part of the Rubbermaid empire.

We ate the Chicken alla Cacciatora with brown rice, steamed broccoli, and our usual salad of mixed greens, vegetables, and avocado lightly dressed with homemade dijon mustard vinaigrette.

Chicken alla Cacciatora, (based on Marcella Hazan's "Chicken Fricasse Cacciatora Style")

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 90 mins
Servings: 4


  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Flour, Spread on a plate
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup Onion, Sliced very thinn
  • ⅔ cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 ea. Bell Pepper, Yellow or red, cut into thin julienne strips
  • 1 ea. Carrot, Peeled and cut into thin disks
  • ½ stalk Celery, Sliced thin crosswise
  • 1 clove Garlic, Peeled and chopped very fine
  • ⅔ cup Canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, Chopped coarse, with their juice


  1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  2. In a sauté pan large enough to hold the chicken pieces without crowding, heat the oil over medium high heat. Dredge the chicken in flour, shake off the excess, and add the pieces to the pan, skin side down. Brown well on both sides. Transfer the pieces to a plate and season with salt and pepper.
  3. With the heat still on medium high, add the onion to the pan and sauté until golden. Add the wine and scape up the brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Put the chicken thighs back into the pan. Add the bell pepper, carrot, celery, garlic and the chopped tomatoes and juice. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 minutes. Then add the breast pieces and cook for another 10 minutes. The thighs should feel tender and the meat should come easily off the bone. Give the chicken pieces a turn or two while cooking to baste them.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken pieces to a platter. If necessary, turn up the heat and reduce the pan juices to the desired density. Pour the vegetables and sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.


Ahead-of-time note: The dish can be cooked through to the end up to a day in advance. Let the chicken cook completely in the pan juices before refrigerating. Reheat in a covered pan at a slow simmer, turning the chicken pieces until they are warmed all the way through.


Retired from corporate life and indulging his lifelong (almost) love of food, cooking, travel, science, and healthful living, Jerry thinks he is a lucky guy.

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