Kitchn Love Letters

The Italian Chicken Dinner I Make Over and Over Again (It’s So Delicious)

published Apr 18, 2024
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pollo ai pepperoni in cast iron skillet
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

Take a look at my meal plan on any given week and it’s a sure bet that you’ll find chicken thighs slotted in at least once, sometimes twice. My family prefers its meaty flavor over more mild-mannered chicken breast, and I love the versatility coupled with the lower price tag. I tend to stick with relatively quick and easy chicken recipes I’m certain my preschooler will enjoy, but I also crave meals that are interesting and bring big flavor. 

The first time I cooked this chicken it was in an effort to use up an excess of bell peppers (hello, Costco impulse purchase) plus some fresh rosemary on its last leg. It felt like maybe a little bit of a gamble with my son, but, as it turned out, it was a worthwhile one. Not only did my whole family devour their plates, but we also all went back for seconds. This one-pan chicken was an instant hit and it’s been a regular in our dinner rotation ever since. 

Get the recipe: Pollo ai Peperoni

What Makes This Chicken Recipe So Good

You know a recipe is good when you lose count of how many times you’ve made it, everyone you’ve made it for still talks about it, and you get asked for the recipe. That’s this chicken dish for me. There’s a lot to love about it, but first and foremost this is perhaps the most flavorful chicken I’ve ever made — and I’ve cooked a lot of chicken recipes. Starting with meaty chicken thighs sets you up well in the flavor department, then toss in garlic, fresh rosemary, white wine vinegar, and white wine, and you’ve got a super-savory meal with a tangy, bold sauce.

Beyond the deliciousness, this dish is super straightforward and easy. It’s one of those recipes that after making it a couple of times, the process is easy enough that you’ll be able to make it by memory without referencing the recipe. You start by searing boneless chicken thighs (they won’t be totally cooked through yet), then hold the chicken on a plate while you sauté the peppers until soft. Deglaze the skillet with white wine. To finish it off, you’ll add the vinegar, return the chicken to the pan, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. 

Why This Recipe Works

This chicken is one of those gems that doesn’t require too much from you — it calls for fewer than 10 basic ingredients and under 10 minutes of prep — yet really delivers big time. As long as you have enough time (the chicken needs about 30 to 45 minutes to cook), it’s low-prep and easy enough for a weeknight and feels special enough to serve when I have people over for dinner. 

At the bottom of the pan is the most amazing sauce, so you definitely want a side made for sopping up every last drop — couscous, rice (oven-baked rice is my favorite and totally foolproof), mashed potatoes, or a good loaf of bread.

If You’re Making Pollo ai Peperoni, a Few Tips

  1. Add the garlic and rosemary with the bell peppers. I prefer to wait to add these ingredients to the pan, rather than tossing them in first thing, because I’ve had issues with them burning a few times. Don’t worry — they still add lots of flavor. 
  2. Other vinegars work in a pinch. White wine vinegar is definitely the best choice for this recipe, but if you’re out or don’t have enough, sherry vinegar and red wine vinegar will get the job done. 
  3. The recipe is easy to double. This recipe is one of my go-tos when I have people over for dinner. It’s incredibly easy to double — just be sure to use a large, high-sided skillet or braiser.

Get the recipe: Pollo ai Peperoni