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Chicken Cacciatore w/ soft Polenta

Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. “Alla Cacciatore” is a classic, rustic and authentic Italian meal. A “hunter style” stew was originally made with whatever the peasants would hunt that day; rabbit, pheasant or any other wild game that was then braised with wild mushroom in a wine-tomato sauce with herbs and aromatics. Nowadays, it’s more commonly made with chicken, onions and peppers as well.

This recipe makes for a delightful Sunday evening meal, as it’s easy to put together, versatile, and packs a lot of flavors. I suggest saving some for leftovers since it’s one of those homey dishes that tastes better as the flavors blend together. Often served with a carb that can soak up the sauce, be sure to choose one of your favorites. We suggest soft polenta, mashed potatoes, pasta, rice or just a few slices of rustic bread to make it the perfect comfort food.


Serving Size: 4


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  1. Bring 4-6 quarts of water to boil and add salt to taste.
  2. Add pasta to boiling water and boil for 12 minutes for al dente pasta or follow package directions. Drain well and set pasta aside, reserving 1 cup of that water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a large pan over medium-low heat place the sliced bacon and cook for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally until fat has rendered out and bacon is crispy, remove the bacon and set aside.
  4. n the same pan over medium heat add 3 tbsp of olive oil, onions and garlic, season lightly with salt stirring frequently and cook until onions are translucent approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add California Love blend, Maras chili flakes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes stirring frequently to combine well and prevent from burning.
  6. Add vodka to deglaze the pan and let alcohol evaporate while scraping the bottom of the pan carefully for any bits. (be careful if your stove has an open flame by removing the pan from the heat before adding the vodka).
  7. Add tomato sauce and cook for 3 minutes stirring frequently to combine well.
  8. Add heavy cream stirring constantly to combine well, adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper. (Note: if the sauce is too thick, use pasta water to adjust). Return crispy bacon to the sauce and stir well to combine.
  9. Add drained pasta to the sauce and combine well, serve immediately, sprinkle some grated cheese over the pasta, basil leaves and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.


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