- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped pancetta
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 cup chopped onions
- ½ fennel bulb diced
- ½ cup diced roasted red pepper
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 cups chopped canned San Marzano or organic tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- ¼ cup slivered basil
- ½ cup pitted green olives, cut in half
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 chicken breasts, skin on
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté for 2 minutes or until pancetta begins to give off its fat.
Add garlic, onion and fennel and cook together until fennel is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and toss together.
Stir in the wine, bring to boil, and boil for 1 minute or until slightly reduced. Add tomatoes, chicken stock and chili flakes, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Add basil and olives and reserve.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Brush chicken breasts with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in skillet over medium high heat, skin side down and sear for 2 minutes a side. Place skillet in oven and bake breasts, skin side up, for 15 to 20 minutes or until juices run clear. Reheat sauce.
Place polenta in a bowl, top with chicken and sauce to serve. Scatter braised artichokes around the side.
Mediterranean comfort food tends to shine more brightly than the rib-sticking dishes from colder-climate regions. And so it is with this zesty chicken dinner. You’ll want to greet the tanginess of the tomatoes and olives with a double-cheeked kiss of acidity. So, if it’s a red wine you desire, stick with Europe, a continent in full embrace of reds with crisp backbone. Medium-bodied Salice Salentino from the southern Italian region of Puglia, full-bodied nero d’Avola from Sicily, young Chianti from Tuscany and French Côtes du Rhône are all good options. Dry rose works nicely, too, as does just about any unoaked white from a coastal Mediterranean region, such as verdicchio from Italy or Rueda from Spain. Beer? Try a hearty but bracingly bitter pale ale. - Beppi Crosariol