Pollo alla Cacciatora (The Hunter’s Wife’s Chicken)



For years I was misled about the true meaning of the names of famous Italian dishes such as pollo alla cacciatora, penne all’arrabbiata, cotolette alla milanesa. But truth be told, what seems to be the correct etymological reasoning behind these titles is entirely boring. I am much more inspired by the whimsical romantic notions that I seemed to have invented all on my own. I’m sticking to my story.

Pollo Alla Cacciatora means, so I have decided, the hunter’s wife’s chicken. As there were traditionally many hunters, there were also many wives of hunters in Italy. And hence, no two recipes for “chicken cacciatori,” as pronounced by unassuming Americans, are alike.

Sometimes I like to make this fabulously soothing dish by adding some chopped celery and carrots to give it a little more of a light earthy flavor, and sometimes I just want a stronger  tomato, wine and rosemary feel. I like the addition of olives, but they can be omitted. Try it different ways for different moods, or depending on what you have in the fridge.

The hunter might be a killer, but he doesn’t eat unless his wife takes control in the kitchen. Be you a woman or a man, you are the master of this chicken. It’s really easy to make and hard to screw up, so even if you have little cooking experience, try on this hat and be the hunter’s wife!

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