This is a Roman classic, the sort of thing you'd catch a waft of on a summer morning, to be ready in time for lunch. This recipe is inspired by Roman-resident Rachel Roddy's brilliant first cookbook, My Kitchen in Rome: Recipes and Notes on Italian Cooking. I particularly like her method of roasting the red peppers separately, then peeling their skins off, adding them to the stew at the end. But if you like (or you are like me and can't stand to turn on the oven in the summer time and don't mind the skin of peppers), you can add the raw peppers, sliced into strips, at the beginning along with the tomatoes.
She has the pancetta as an optional element, but it brings a welcome hit of salty flavor that balances the sweetness of the peppers.
This is best served with plenty of bread to mop up sauces—but mashed potatoes, rice, or couscous do nicely, too. —Emiko
thick slice of pancetta (about 50 grams), diced (optional)
(about 1.3 kg) chicken (either a whole one, jointed, marylands or thighs)
(125 ml) white wine
(550 grams) of tinned tomatoes with their juice
Heat the oil in a saute pan or pot and cook the pancetta until golden and crisp.
Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down if possible, and sear until golden, then turn over and brown the other side. Season with salt and pepper.
Splash the chicken with the white wine, and let it sizzle until it's almost all evaporated.
Add the garlic, rosemary and tomatoes (crushed in the tin before hand, or break them up with your wooden spoon when in the pan). Cover and cook over moderate heat. Keep an eye on everything for the first 10 minutes, stirring when necessary, then half-cover the pan and continue cooking for a further 45 minutes or until the sauce has become dense and the chicken is tender and starting to pull away from the bone. If the sauce is looking too thick but the chicken not ready, you can add a splash of water and continue cooking. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, roast the peppers in a preheated oven (200° C/390° F), turning them once or twice, until soft and charred, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately tip into a bowl. Cover the hot vegetables with cling film and let them "steam" for about 10 minutes before peeling off the skins. Discard the seeds and stems and then rip or cut the peppers into strips and add to the chicken.
Cook a further 5 minutes then let the pan to sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavours to mingle (better an hour, or even overnight in the fridge for the next day). You can serve it at room temperature or reheat it over low until warm.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.