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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Italian Style Chicken with Pasta

Servings:  4-5
Difficulty:  Easy (20 minutes of attended time; 2 hrs unattended)

About this Recipe

This recipe comes from my grandmother, Vincenza Villanelli.  She was a great Italian cook.  Most of the food she prepared we considered "Peasant Food". And looking back, most everything she prepared was healthy--lots of cooked tomato products; plenty of garlic and onions, dandelion salad, sauteed organic greens that she gathered in the woods; wild mushrooms; fava beans; lean meats; baccala (cod fish); anchovies; and she always cooked with olive oil.

This recipe has some fat, as the sauce gets it's richness from the chicken stewing in the sauce--skin, fat, bones, and all.  Grandma would always say "You gotta have fat chickens that are nice and yellow if you want a good sauce."  She also used to say that certain brands of tomato paste were bitter--always use Hunt's.  If you happen to use a different brand of tomato paste and your sauce turns out a little bitter, just add about 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar before returning the chicken to the sauce at the end.

Health Benefits of This Recipe

Cooked tomato products (spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato paste, tomato sauce, ketchup, etc.) contain high-concentrations of the antioxidant Lycopene.  Lycopene, perhaps best known for it's cancer preventative properties in prostate cancer, also helps neutralize free radicals in heart disease, helps break down LDL cholesterol, improves the health of the skin, helps reduce other forms of cancer, and even helps reduce the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration.  For more information on the benefits of Lycopene, click here.


  • 1 Cut-up Fat Yellow Chicken (with skin and bones)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 Cloves Garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1 (12-oz) Can Tomato Paste
  • 4 (14.5-oz) Cans Crushed Tomatoes (or petite diced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil (crushed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning (crushed)
  • 1 Dried Bay Leaf
  • 2 (4-oz) Cans Button Mushrooms (stems and pieces are fine)
  • 1 (14.5  oz) Box Barilla Plus Pasta (comes in a yellow box) Or try your hand at HOMEMADE HI PROTEIN NOODLES <--recipe here
  • Parmesan Cheese (omit for Kosher)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Select a medium sized non-reactive roaster with a cover or an oven-safe dutch oven with cover. 
  2. Place the open roaster over medium heat and add the olive oil and garlic.  Heat until the garlic begins to sizzle.
  3. Season chicken pieces with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  4. Brown the seasoned chicken pieces on the stove top until the chicken pieces are golden brown (about 15 minutes).
  5. In a bowl stir together the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, bay leaf and Italian seasoning.
  6. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken, cover the roaster, and bake in the oven for 1 hour or just until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the sauce and set aside.
  7. Add the mushrooms (juice and all) to the sauce, replace the cover and continue baking the sauce for another hour.
  8. About 15 minutes before serving, return the chicken to the sauce and place the roaster back into the oven until chicken is heated through.  Meanwhile, cook your favorite pasta until al-dente.
  9. Serve chicken over a generous serving of pasta and plenty of the flavorful sauce.  Add shredded or grated Parmesan cheese to taste.
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1 comment:

  1. My family loved this dish. Would be great to serve for company too. The leftovers were even better.