This is one of those recipes where the total is greater than the sum of the parts. The best kind of recipe really.
I mean, what’s not to love? Pizza, Chicken, Pasta? It’s practically the Comfort Food Trifecta!! And because there is pancetta (or bacon) in the recipe as well, there is something for everyone here.
I first came across this recipe when we were cooking with Dinner, Changing the Game by Melissa Clark, for the Cook Book Club, back in the Spring. I had to make it because of the title alone. And the fact that it is basically a one skillet meal, this is something that can be thrown together on any weeknight. I just loved the idea of putting all those fabulous pizza flavours on top of seared chicken and letting them all cook together till an amazing gooey topping was formed.
This is one of those recipes that doesn’t require anything out of the ordinary. You probably already have all the ingredients in your fridge and pantry. And yet it is not an ordinary meal by any means. Served with garlic bread and a Caesar Salad, and this would be a great dinner for when company is coming over. Especially since it really all comes together in about an hour.
First you are going to sauté up some pancetta (or bacon). Then chicken pieces are added to the pan. Sear them to a lovely brown and then remove them. In the same pan, garlic, anchovies (not absolutely necessary) capers and chili flakes are sautéed up in the remaining oil. Add in some cherry tomatoes and basil and cook, breaking up the tomatoes to create a simple sauce. The chicken is returned to the skillet, and placed into a 400F oven to cook for 30 minutes. Then bocconcini get scattered over the chicken and the whole kit ‘n caboodle is placed under the broiler till the cheese is all bubbling.
So, that’s the recipe. Now, Melissa suggests serving this with a side of green veggies or a salad and some crusty bread. But I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I mean, all that cheese on top of that chicken. Surely it isn’t a stretch to see a modified Chicken Parm here, right? So I thought, serve it over spaghetti. There are some amazing juices in the pan just begging to be poured over a grateful pasta. So this is how I am suggesting you serve it. Of course, a side salad and garlic bread would still be welcome additions, in just about anyone’s estimation.
This is a perfect meal on these cold winter days, but works equally well once the weather warms up a little. It really isn’t that heavy. But it is packed with flavour. And you can never have too many chicken recipe options. Keep warm, and eat tasty!
Pizza Chicken with Pancetta, Mozzarella and Spicy Tomatoes
All the melting cheese, meats and tomatoes of a great pizza, in a chicken braise, and served over pasta. Comfort Food Perfection!
- 3 1/2 lbs bone-in chicken pieces
- 2 tsp kosher salt , plus more to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 5 oz pancetta , diced
- 3 garlic cloves , thinly sliced
- 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)
- 1 tbsp capers , drained
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes , halved (or use a mix of cherry, grape tomatoes etc)
- 3 1/2 cups diced ripe tomatoes
- 1 large sprig of fresh basil , plus chopped basil leaves for serving
- 8 oz bocconcini , halved (or use 1 inch cubes of fresh mozzarella)
- 1 lb dried spaghetti pasta
Pat the chicken dry and season the pieces with 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.
Heat a 10-12 inch oven safe skillet over med-high heat and add the olive oil. Let the oil heat up for a few seconds and then add the pancetta. Cook, stirring frequently until it is well browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the chicken to the skillet. Sear, turning the pieces only occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Transfer them to a large plate. Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the oil in the skillet.
Add the garlic, anchovies, capers, and chili flakes to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute.
Stir in the tomatoes, the basil sprig and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper. Cook and break up the tomatoes with a spatula, until the sauce thickens somewhat, about 10 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, heat the oven to 400F.
Return the chicken to the skillet and transfer the skillet to the oven and cook uncovered, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 30 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking in the oven, prepare the pasta according to the directions of the package, in well salted water. Drain.
Remove the skillet from the oven and scatter the bocconcini over the chicken.
Turn on the broiler, and place a rack 6 inches or so from the heat. Place the skillet under the broiler and broil till the cheese is bubbling. This should take about 1-3 minutes, but watch it carefully!
You can either place all the pasta on a platter and then scoop out the sauce over the pasta. Then place the chicken and cheese over the sauce. Or you can do this on individual plates.
Garnish the chicken with the pancetta and basil before serving over the pasta.
This recipe comes from Dinner, Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. The addition of the pasta is my own!