Cacciatore means "hunter" in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared "hunter-style" with tomatoes, onions, herbs, often bell pepper, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is typically made with braised chicken thighs (pollo alla cacciatora), or rabbit (coniglio alla cacciatora), an Italian delicacy.
There are many different variations of this dish based upon ingredients available in specific regions. For example, in southern Italy, cacciatore often includes red wine, while northern Italian chefs might use white wine, and served over pasta, rice or risotto.
PREPARATION TIME: 40 minutes – makes 6 to 8 servings
1 pound pasta, or 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice (if gluten free)
6 chicken thighs, skin removed (or 3 whole chicken breasts skinned and halved)
2 Italian Sausage links, removed from casing (6 or 7 ounces)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped #2 cone
1 carrot, chopped fine (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red pepper, chopped or sliced (optional)
½ cup Port Wine
1 16 ounce can whole tomatoes, halved (or 3 lbs fresh plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded)
1½ cups homemade chicken stock (or low sodium chicken broth)
1 dash, fresh chopped Rosemarie
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup brown crimini or portobello mushrooms, sliced #4 blade (place mushrooms sideways in hopper to slice)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or Menchego cheese (if dairy free)
3 tablespoons fresh Basil, chopped
Preheat the Large Skillet over medium-high heat 350°F (180°C), about 3 minutes. Test the surface with a few water droplets. If the droplets bead up and dance across the surface, the pan is hot enough to brown the chicken and seal in juices. Place the chicken in the pan; it will stick at first while browning. Cover the pan and open the vent. When the chicken loosens, about 5-7 minutes, turn it to brown on the other side. About 4-5 minutes. Test for doneness, remove chicken from pan and set aside.
To the Large Skillet, add sausage and sauté until cooked. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and carrot (if using), sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sweat down, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, and stir into the mixture. Place the browned chicken on top, reduce to medium-low 225°F (110°C), cover with the vent closed, and simmer 15-20 minutes.
To cook the pasta, bring water to a boil over high heat 425°F (218°C). Add the pasta, cover and open the vent. Reduce the heat to simmer 200°F (93°C) and cook until Al dente, about 6 to 7 minutes. Then test every 30 seconds until cooked and firm to the bite.
Serve chicken and sauce over rice or pasta, top with fresh grated cheese and fresh chopped basil.
NUTRITIONAL BREAKDOWN PER SERVING with Rice: Calories 346; Fat Grams 5; Carbohydrate Grams 45; Protein Grams 35; Cholesterol mg 73; Sodium mg 284 (171 with homemade Chicken Stock and Fresh Tomatoes).
THE POINT SYSTEM: Calorie Points 4 ½; Protein Points 4; Fat Grams 5; Sodium Points 12; Fiber Points 3; Carbohydrate Points 3; Cholesterol Points 7.