Hello and welcome to Sunday Supper! Today’s Sunday Supper is a recipe by Melissa Clark that I absolutely love. It’s not unlike the Chicken in Vinegar we did a few weeks ago; it’s a one pan chicken dish with a tomato base. But, for this recipe we have pancetta and mozzarella – no vinegar. The chicken is juicy and tender, and the sauce is so flavorful and rich. It’s an easy weeknight dinner, and totally guest-worthy. Let’s get to the versatile and delicious Chicken with Tomatoes Pancetta and Mozzarella!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the center position. I did go off the recipe a little bit because I really loved the way the Chicken in Vinegar got crispy, so I went ahead and dredged the chicken in flour before pan-searing it. I am starting with bone-in, skinless pieces, so the dredging works well to give them a nice crispy exterior. Season the chicken pieces on all sides with Kosher salt and black pepper and set aside for 10 minutes or so. Pat the chicken pieces very dry and dredge them in flour, shake off the excess.
We will begin by heating some oil in an oven safe skillet over medium heat and browning the pancetta. Once the pancetta is evenly browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Brown the Chicken
Then, add the chicken pieces to the skillet. My chicken pieces were pretty large, apparently, so I could not fit the entire 3.5 pounds of chicken called for in the recipe, so I set aside one drumstick and one thigh for another recipe.
Brown the chicken on all sides (about 10 minutes), then transfer it to a plate and set aside. Turn off the heat and discard all but about one tablespoon of the oil/fat.
For the next step, I turned my heat down to medium-low because this cast iron radiates so much heat, I can go with a lower burner temperature so the garlic and anchovies won’t burn.
I am using about 3-4 Anchovy fillets (the original recipe calls for 2) and instead of thinly sliced garlic I minced the three cloves of garlic with a garlic press because I wanted a stronger garlic flavor. Sauté the anchovies and garlic for about 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and their sauce, along with the basil sprig.
I am using my favorite San Marzano tomatoes that I have hand crushed. You can use any 28-ounce of tomatoes you like, crushed or diced. The original recipe calls for canned plum tomatoes, if you go with plum tomatoes, just use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes as they cook.
Let the sauce cook, stirring occasionally for about 10-12 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit. Then add the chicken pieces back to the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165. Pull the chicken out of the oven and adjust oven setting to broil, but leave the rack in the center position. Nestle the fresh mozzarella pieces in between the chicken pieces, use as much as you like!
Place the pan back in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Be sure to watch it at this point because it will take only about 2-3 minutes.
Top with pancetta and fresh basil leaves.
Is that not absolutely gorgeous? Imagine bringing this to the table and serving your family or guests a piece of crispy chicken with lush, deeply flavored tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella and crunchy bits of salty pancetta.
This dish stands on its own, but a lovely Caesar Salad would be a great side – especially with crunchy homemade croutons to help sop up some of that delicious tomato sauce.
I am looking forward to having family over so I can make them Chicken with Tomatoes Pancetta and Mozzarella. Honestly, this is love in a skillet. Thank you all for spending some of your day with me; I do hope you give this dish a try. I guarantee it will become a family favorite. Pin this recipe on Pinterest, and give me a follow! Take care and be well, xo Kelly
Chicken with Tomatoes Pancetta and Mozzarella
Crispy chicken in a deeply flavored tomato sauce with gooey mozzarella, crunchy pancetta and fresh basil
- 3.5 lbs. Bone-in Chicken Pieces (or use a 3 1/2 pound chicken cut into 8 pieces)
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour (for optional dredging chicken pieces)
- 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 5 oz. Pancetta, diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced or minced for a stronger garlic flavor
- 2-3 Anchovy Fillets
- 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 (28-ounce) Can Whole Plum Tomatoes, or hand crushed whole San Marzano Tomatoes (or diced tomatoes...)
- 1 Large Basil Sprig, plus more chopped basil for serving
- 8 oz. Fresh Mozzarella cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
Pat the chicken dry, and then (optional step) dredge the pieces in flour, shake off the excess and set on a sheet tray.
In a large oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Add chicken to skillet. Sear, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, anchovy and red pepper flakes to skillet; fry for 1 minute.
Stir in tomatoes and basil sprig. Cook, breaking up tomatoes with a spatula, until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
Return chicken to skillet. Transfer skillet to oven and cook, uncovered, until chicken reads 165 degrees when probed with a thermometer, about 30 minutes.
Nestle mozzarella pieces between the chicken pieces. Adjust oven temperature to broil, but leave the rack in the center position. Return skillet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes (watch carefully to see that it does not burn).
Garnish with pancetta and chopped basil before serving.