Best Italian Dish You’ve Never Heard Of

“Imagine succulent chicken thighs and sausages soaking up a sauce that’s both a little sweet and a little tangy, creating a dish known as scarpariello.”

It’s amazing how discovering a new dish can completely sidetrack your plans! I stumbled upon Chicken Scarpariello while researching another recipe, and its description of sweet-and-sour chicken with sausages and peppers grabbed my attention. Despite my lack of experience with this Italian-American classic, I couldn’t resist diving into its delicious depths.

I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant to tackle it, considering my past run-in with outraged Italian grandmothers over a questionable recipe. But the temptation was too strong, and I decided to take the plunge.

Thankfully, my leap of faith paid off. The dish turned out to be everything I hoped for and more, proving that sometimes it’s worth risking a culinary adventure, even if it means facing the wrath of traditionalists!

Recipes for pollo allo scarpariello, or “shoemaker’s chicken,” vary widely across the internet. Some feature a lemon-based sauce, while others strike a balance between vinegar and sugar. Potatoes may or may not be included, and the dish’s components seem to span the culinary spectrum.

In my quest, I settled on an easy version that I believe captures the essence of the dish while keeping it manageable for any night of the week.

My approach involves first browning sweet Italian sausage and chicken thighs. Then, I sauté red bell peppers, onions, and plenty of sliced garlic. Italian herbs join the mix, followed by white wine and chicken stock.

For the pickled peppers, I opted for Peppadews, those vibrant red cherry peppers commonly found in the olive bar section of grocery delis. They complement the sweet and sour profile perfectly, and I found their sweet, mildly spicy pickling juice ideal for lending the sauce its characteristic tang.

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After a few trial runs, I concluded that my preferred serving method is over creamy polenta, though roasted fingerling potatoes also make a delightful pairing.

The end result was so satisfying that I might even consider sharing it on Facebook!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces (4 links) Italian sausage
  • 2 1/4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 4 to 6 pieces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian herbs
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped pickled Peppadew peppers, plus 1/4 cup of the pickling juices
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Here are the directions in simplified English:

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position racks in the upper and lower thirds.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until they’re browned on all sides (about 3 to 5 minutes). They won’t be fully cooked. Transfer them to a plate and slice them in half crosswise.

Season both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook the chicken in the same skillet, turning occasionally, until it’s golden brown on both sides (about 6 to 8 minutes). Transfer the chicken to the plate with the sausages.

In the same skillet, add onions, bell peppers, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re softened and starting to brown (about 6 to 8 minutes). Add the garlic and Italian herbs, and cook for another minute.

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Pour in the wine and cook, stirring and scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 5 minutes). Add the broth, pickled peppers, and pickling liquid, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until it’s slightly reduced (about 5 minutes).

Nestle the chicken and sausages into the vegetable mixture in the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the chicken and sausages are cooked through (about 20 minutes).

Transfer the chicken and sausages to a serving platter. Stir the vinegar into the sauce, and taste. Adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or vinegar if needed.

Ladle the sauce over the chicken and sausages. Garnish with parsley, and serve. Enjoy!

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