Chicken Thighs in Tomato Sauce (2 Courses in 1 Pot!)

I love dishes like this one where meat is slowly cooked in sauce. The aroma of the dish is simply intoxicating as it cooks, and you not only end up with a delicious main dish meat course, you also have a exceptionally tasty sauce that you can serve on pasta for your first course. Cooking most types of meat in a combination of wine and tomato sauce creates meat so tender you can cut it with a fork, and is commonly found across Italy in kitchens where the typical Nonna prepares her “Sunday sauce”. My own Mother-In-Law cooks different cuts of meat in her slow simmering tomato sauce to flavor it, and after we enjoy our pasta course, the meat is passed around for everyone to enjoy.

For this dish, I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I stuff with breadcrumbs, roll and tie, then slowly simmer in a sauce of chopped tomatoes and red wine. Once the chicken is cooked, I slice it and keep it warm topped with a little sauce. We enjoy the rest of the sauce on pasta, and pass the chicken as our second course. This sauce has a remarkably robust flavor that works well on any type of pasta, and I chose homemade pappardelle for my pasta in the photos.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2013

Braised Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Yield: Serves 4 - 6

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 2 hrs


For The Chicken:
5 Tablespoons Olive Olive Oil, Divided
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Pancetta
3/4 Cup Homemade Fresh Breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Parsley
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
Salt & Pepper To Taste
1/4 Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese
8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
For The Sauce:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Cups Robust Dry Red Wine (Chianti Works Well)
1 (26 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
4 Tablespoons Finely Chopped, Fresh Basil
1/2 Teaspoon Red Hot Pepper Flakes
1 Pound Dried Pasta of Choice
To Serve:
Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese


To prepare the chicken, heat a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly smoking.
Add the onions and pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often until the onions are soft and the pancetta is cooked.
Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and stir to mix well.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.
Take each chicken thigh, and fill with about 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumb stuffing.
Roll the chicken up tightly, and tie securely with kitchen twine, and continue to stuff, roll, and tie the rest of the thighs.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and brown the thighs on all sides over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Set the chicken thighs aside until needed.
For the sauce, in a large stove-top casserole dish heat the oil until lightly smoking and then cook the onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the wine and increase heat to a slow boil and cook until it has reduced by half.
Add the tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil, and pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the chicken to the sauce.
Cover the pot, and cook for about an hour and a half.
Remove the chicken from the sauce, cut off the twine and slice crosswise into pieces and keep warm.
Use the sauce on your pasta of choice, and serve the chicken on the side.


13 Responses to “Supplì alla Romana”

  1. 1
    Severe Autism — November 12, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    These look good. Nice appetizer idea, and so awesome that they can be frozen, that is a time saver.


  2. 2
    roz — November 13, 2012 @ 11:33 pm


    Oh how I love arancini! Your recipe sounds perfect! If I don’t get back to your blog before, I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season!



  3. 3
    Jean — November 14, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    I freeze them already fried and reheat in a low oven. They reheat best if thawed but even from frozen they are tasty. Thanks for the combination ideas.


  4. 4
    Veronica — November 14, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

    These used to be my favorite thing from the Tavola Caldas in Rome when I lived there.
    They are so yummy and your recipe sounds even better. Thanks


  5. 5
    Fabio — November 14, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    Deborah,you read my mind,I was going to ask you for the arancini recipe, this particular one is super-delicious!!!.Best regards from Miami.


  6. 6
    Cindy — November 14, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

    These look wonderful. We have to cook a lot of gluten free items at my house so I think I’ll try this with GF breadcrumbs. Have you ever tried this?


  7. 7
    Sandhya — November 14, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

    These look wonderful. I will make them and post a picture here. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.


  8. 8
    Rafael — December 4, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    I was 5 years old when I first tried “SUPPLIS”. Imagine how good they tasted, that I am 56 and still remember their name and great flavor. I thought I had imagined it or was confused with the name. Thank you for bringing back those delicious memories.


  9. 9
    mary tonelli — November 19, 2013 @ 11:46 am

    Please clarify, your recipe is 1 c Arborio and serves 4-6.
    How many rice ball do you get?


    Deborah Reply:

    Recipe says serves 4 to 6 so it makes 8 to 12 suppli depending on their size.


  10. 10
    Rosa Bortolus — September 6, 2014 @ 6:00 am

    Can I make them up, and then fry them the next day.

    I will put eggs in rice, make up balls with cheese in it and then roll them in breadcrumbs.
    Put them in the fridge over night and fry them in the morning.
    Would love a reponse asap, thanks


    Deborah Reply:

    That should work just fine.


  11. 11
    Lina — March 27, 2016 @ 10:39 pm

    My family is from Fano in Marche and were ethnically Jewish, but converted to Christianity after WW2. We always had suppli as an an alternative to matzoh balls. Italian Jews eat rice during Passover, while Ashkenazi (German) Jews do not . We would make the rice as you would for risotto, using short or medium grain rice, and add parsley, eggs and grated cheese along with a tiny bit of finely finely minced shallot for flavor. They would be rolled in egg and dipped into matzoh flour or bread crumbs. After the suppli had finished frying they were drained well and served in clear chicken broth, as you would a matzoh ball. If arrancini were made and mozzarella cheese was added inside it was called “ai telefono” . Telephone style due to the stringy nature of mozzarella resembling phone lines. We also make a giant arrancini called a bomba (bomb) that is filled with a mixture of boneless skinless chicken stewed in tomato sauce with green peas. The food of the Italian Jews is very good. It is the only link to my heritage at this point, and I enjoy the uniqueness of some of my family’s recipes.


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