Mark Leslie knows pasta. He is the author of Beyond the Pasta, a memoir with recipes from his experiences in Italy, where he learned the mastery of cooking his noodles with everything from pollo topomodori and beyond. Though he works as a stage manager in professional theater, Mark travels to Italy each year to fulfill his passion for everything Italian, and he keeps fellow pasta fanatics up to date on his blog.
I could eat this chicken with tomatoes and olives dish once a week for the rest of my life and never tire of it. Sadly, Nonna only made this once while I was in Viterbo. This is a simple, country dish and reminds me of Tuscany. Nonna cuts her chicken into small pieces—it is only 10 but in her pan it looks more like 14 since they are so small. You may cut yours to any size you desire.
- 1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into 8 or 10 pieces (cut into 10 by dividing the breast into quarters)
- Salt and pepper, to season the chicken
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup strained tomatoes (Pomi brand is recommended)
- 1 1/2 cups (5 ounces) whole green olives, pitted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- Dry the chicken pieces with paper towels to remove any excess moisture and liberally season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat, and when the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces, skin side down and fry until nicely browned, turning to brown both sides, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
- When the chicken has browned, transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the white wine and garlic to the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. After the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes, add the strained tomatoes, olives, salt and pepper. Stir until combined.
- Return the chicken to the skillet with its juices. Cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and cook another 10 minutes, until the chicken is done and the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Remove the chicken to a warmed platter. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper, and pour the sauce and olives over the chicken. Serve hot.
- *Note: Strained tomatoes can be readily found in most supermarkets in either the canned tomato or pasta aisles. Sometimes the product may be referred to by its Italian name “passato” and can be found either bottled or cartoned, as is the case with the Pomi brand.