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I am very excited, to say the least, that Italian cooking this fall will be a highlight in this year-long venture of cooking and culture.

I am diving with gusto into basil, oregano and garlic. Let me start with an easy recipe that does not take a lot of time but packs a punch with flavor! Chicken Fricasse, Cacciatora Style out of the cookbook “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”  by Marcella Hazan.

The word “cacciatore” means hunter style. When I think of a hunter, I think of game and real earthy kinds of foods. It can mean rabbit, but I made mine tonight with poultry, including vegetables like tomato and onion….three of my favorites for fall night.

Chicken Fricasse, Cacciatora Style

A  3 to 4 pound Chicken, cut into 6-8 pieces

2 Tbls veg. oil

Flour, spread on a plate

Salt

Pepper

1/3 cup onion, sliced very thin

2/3 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

1 yellow or red pepper, seeded, cored, and thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin disks

1/2 stalk celery, sliced thin crosswise

1 garlic glove, peeled and chopped very fine

2/3 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped coarse, with their juice.

Wash chicken in cold water and dry with cloth and paper towels. Choose a pan that can hold all the chicken without crowding them. Put in the oil and turn the heat to medium high. Turn the chicken  in the flour, coat the pieces on all sides, shake off excess flour and slip them into pan. Brown on all sides and remove to a platter. Add sliced onion and cook until golden brown. Add the wine or broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the bits for about 30 seconds. Return the chicken to the pan, except for the breasts, they will go in later as they cook faster. Add the bell pepper, carrot, celery, garlic and chopped tomato. Adjust heat to simmer and cover for at least 40 minutes. Add the Chicken breasts and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Turn and baste the chicken from time to time.  If the sauce is on the thin and watery side, turn up heat and let cook for a few minutes. Serve over noodles or rice.

Ciao! See you later.

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