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Over the last hundred years or so, there may not be an ethnic food more embraced by the American palette than Italian cuisine.  From pizza to lasagna; chicken parmesan to spaghetti and meatballs.  We’ve taken these magnificent meals and made them our own.  And why wouldn’t we embrace them so enthusiastically?  They’re amazing!  They can be rich and unctuous, savory and powerfully packed with flavor- and their taste can be appreciated by people the world over.  But with all the prevalence of Italian food being cooked here in American house holds, I personally don’t see enough of my favorite…  Chicken Cacciatore.

Cacciatore translates to “hunter” in Italian, and if you’re on the hunt for a terrific and simple meal, than this is what you’ve been looking for.  This recipe was passed down to me from my Old Man, who used to cook this up for his fellow hungry firefighters down at Engine 15 in Manhattan and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just as much as they did.  With this recipe, you can make it sunday dinner every night in your home.  So savor the flavor and enjoy it.  I know you will.

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Ingredients

-Olive oil to lightly coat non stick or cast iron pan

-7 Chicken Breast.  Filleted and trimmed

-3 Large onions, sliced and halved

-3 Peppers (color optional- I use 2 green and 1 red), julienned and cut in half

-4 Garlic cloves (minced)

-2 Cans of whole tomatoes, lightly pureed in a blender

-1 Package of fresh mushrooms, stems partly removed and quartered

-4 Tablespoons of fresh parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried)

-2 Teaspoons of dried basil

-1 Teaspoon of oregano

-1/2 Cup of burgundy

-1 Cup of tomato paste

-Salt and pepper to taste

-1 Package of Rigatoni, or pasta of your choice

Instructions

1. Clean, prepare, chop and arrange ingredients.

2. Heat oil and begin browning chicken in frying pan.

3. In large sauce pot, place tomatoes, paste, spices and wine.  Bring to simmer, stirring sporadically.

4. When chicken is done (browned lightly) add directly to sauce pot.

5. Add mushrooms to sauce.

6. Remove all but 6-8 tablespoons of oil from frying pan.

7. In same pan, fry peppers and onions in remaining oil for 5-10 minutes or until limp.

8. Add minced garlic to peppers and onions, stirring until garlic is browned (about 5 minutes).

9. Add vegetables to sauce.

10. Simmer Sauce, stirring for 2-3 hours.

11. Serve over pasta with parmesan cheese, buttered Italian bread on the side and red wine of your choice.

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