Chicken In Spicy Tomato Sauce


Any Italian recipe with “arrabbiata” in it’s title will be a little spicy, as the word translates as “angry”, and means hot chili peppers have been added to the ingredient list. The best part about making this type of recipe at home is that you can control the amount of heat you’d like in your dish.

We visit a local trattoria just up the hill from our farmhouse in the small town of Collazzone, called Da Leone, once a week, and one of my favorite dishes on their menu is this chicken dish. Like cacciatore, chicken braised slowly over low heat in sauce is so tender it literally falls off the bone.

In Umbria, this dish would commonly be served with a wedge of Torta al Testo, or Umbrian flatbread to sop up the tasty sauce, but any crusty Italian bread will work well.

This dish can be prepared with a whole chicken cut into pieces, but I often use chicken thighs, which are both inexpensive and full of flavor. For this recipe, I usually cook my chicken on the stovetop over low heat in a cast iron pan, but you could also use a roasting pan and bake the chicken in the oven if you prefer.


Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Chicken In Spicy Tomato Sauce

Chicken In Spicy Tomato Sauce

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 8 Medium Sized Chicken Thighs, or One (3 pound) Chicken Cut Into Pieces
  • 1 Small Onion, Peeled and Finely Diced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Minced
  • 1 Red Chili Pepper, Finely Minced
  • 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • Sea Salt and Pepper 
to Taste

To Serve:

  • Green Tops From 4 Scallion Onions


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pan, and once hot, brown half the chicken pieces on each side until golden brown over medium high heat, about 3 to 4 minutes each side.
  2. Brown the rest of the chicken pieces and then move all to a plate.
  3. Add the chopped onion to the pan, and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and chili pepper to the pan and cook another minute or two until fragrant.
  5. Add the wine to the pan and turn the heat up to high.
  6. Use a fork to scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan, and cook until the wine has reduced by 1/3 volume.
  7. Return the chicken pieces to the pan along with the tomatoes, dried oregano, and parsley.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil.
  9. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about an hour.
  10. Remove the cover, and cook an additional 15 to 20.
  11. At this point, the sauce should have thickened and the chicken should be so tender it falls off the bone.
  12. Alternately, instead of cooking the chicken on the stovetop, you could place the pot with the chicken and sauce in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F. and cook for an hour and a half, then uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  13. To serve, place the chicken on a warmed platter and spoon the sauce over top.
  14. Sprinkle with the chopped onions and serve immediately.

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