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Back in the 1970s, there was a beautiful, demure Italian opera star who became the spokesperson for Ragu Spaghetti Sauce. Her famous line, with its memorable cadence was, “Hello, I’m Anna Maria Alberghetti and I’m here to talk to you about spaghetti sauce.” She said this as she stood in front of a pile of luscious tomatoes, onions, and garlic. As kids who watched a lot of TV, this line became part of our kitchen jargon. Fifty years later, as I was choosing photographs for today’s installment of Sheet Pan Supper: Chicken Cacciatore, my first thought was, “Hello, I’m Anna Maria.”

Chicken Cacciatore is a traditional Italian stew consisting of braised chicken parts sautéed with fresh vegetables. We had this stew for dinner at least once a month growing up. My mother and grandmothers served it over pasta, polenta, or rice.

In Italian, the meal is called pollo alla cacciatora, or “the hunter’s wife’s chicken,” from the verb cacciare which means to hunt. My romantic brain pictures one of my relatives in Sicily going to hunt a chicken (pollo), rabbit (coniglio) or wild duck (anatra selvatica). He brings the meat home to his apron-clad wife (she wears an apron all day), who cleans it, chops it, braises it, and then goes out to her kitchen garden to pick the vegetables and herbs that will go into the stew.

Some of these aprons were made by my grandmothers.

As we did in the recipe Sheet Pan Supper: Lemon Chicken, we’re going to start by making a marinade for the chicken to soak in while we prep the vegetables. Once the meal has finished cooking, immediately pour the ingredients into a serving bowl to allow the flavors to meld until dinnertime.

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Chicken Cacciatore

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes. Roasting time: 40 minutes


½ teaspoon fine salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

the leaves from 2 or 3 sprigs of oregano

the leaves from 3 or 4 sprigs of basil

4 large garlic cloves, smashed then rough chopped

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1½-2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, or bone-in skinless thighs

½ pound onions

½ pound sweet bell peppers

2½-3 pounds tomatoes

½ pound white mushrooms (avoid Bellas which turn the sauce brown)

1½ teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper


Preheat oven to 425º.

Pour olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, garlic, and rough-chopped basil and oregano leaves into a large mixing bowl. Mix together.

Trim fat from chicken thighs. Add to marinade and toss together. Set aside.

Cut onion into thin slices. Set aside.

Remove seeds and stem of bell peppers and chop into 1-2 inch pieces.

Core tomatoes. Do not peel. Slice in half horizontally and use your index finger quickly scoop out seeds. It’s fine to leave some of the seeds. Chop the tomatoes into 1- to 2-inch chunks. This looks time consuming, but goes quickly once you get the hang of it. Set aside. I use this same prepping technique to make fresh marinara sauce.

Slice mushrooms, or save time by buying a package presliced. Set aside.

Add chopped vegetables to marinated chicken, add remaining salt and pepper, and toss together until vegetables are well coated with marinade.

Spread ingredients onto an unlined rimmed sheet pan. Be sure to fold thighs to create a double thickness. This will help keep the chicken from drying out. Roast for 40 minutes. No need to stir while cooking.

Once cooked, pour ingredients into a serving bowl and allow flavors to meld until dinnertime.

You’ll see a nice thin, juicy sauce emerge as the food rests. You can serve it over pasta, polenta, or rice, or eat it as is in a bowl.

About The Author

The author of one of the most delicious food and garden blogs, Judy Wright has boundless curiosity about just about anything having to do with nurturing food, family, friends—and the chickens in her backyard. Follow her adventures at Judy’s Chickens.


  • Mmmmmm….
    I might add some kalamata olives.
    Basaltic vinegar is in the pic, is there a drizzle at the end?

    • Kalamata olives would be great, Phyllis. Early on, I included it in the marinade, but something about the over all flavor bothered me, so I took it out of the marinade and added a little to the finished meal. It’s optional. Hope you enjoy!

    • I made it for dinner on Friday and it was super yummy. I used canned tomatoes, and made an extra quarter sheet pan of the vegetables for my vegetarian.

      Bonus: I had eggs with leftover peppers, onions, and mushrooms for breakfast on Saturday! Winning!

      • Kay, I developed this recipe over the summer when I had a ton of tomatoes in the garden. I’m so glad to hear canned tomatoes worked well, too.

        • You just have to get as much juice off of them as you can. They were delicious.

  • I have made the Lemon Chicken many times and it is delicious. Looking forward to mixing it up with this. I have frozen chopped fresh tomatoes from the garden. Would those work?

    • Sally, they will be perfect! Glad to hear you have enjoyed the lemon chicken. I just took chicken thighs out of the freezer to make it for dinner tonight. My husband’s lemon trees are loaded with ripe fruit and I’m in a lemon mode.

  • I love, love, love….everything MDK brings to my life. You two girls are the best. Thank you.

  • Never knew she was an opera singer. Just figured she was somehow well-known 🙂

  • I think my son will love this, thanks!

  • My mother made Chicken Cacciatore for us, but the sauce was different. We used all the same vegetables with braised chicken parts, but she added red wine, allspice and cayenne pepper and went pretty light on the basil. Our version is one I have never seen anywhere else, but it is a favorite when we have company. Any idea which Italians would put allspice in this dish? She was living in France when she obtained this supposedly Italian dish….

    • Hi, Susan. Allspice has a woodsy pumpkin spice flavor. I hardly ever use it. I would have thought the flavor would be a little too strong, but I’ll try it. You never know. Maybe it’s a Northern Italian thing. I do use red wine and cayenne often in tomato based dishes. You could use both in this dish.

  • That looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it.

  • I don’t like dsrk meat. Any suggested alterations for using breast meat? Or should I judt do something else entirely? TIA!

  • Anna Maria Alberghetti had the voice of an angel. I prefer to remember her incredible musical genius. I am grateful for that silly commercial for introducing her to me, but could care less about what tomato sauce she got paid to promote. As far as I know she is alive and living in Florida at the age of 83.
    Love chicken cacciatore, though:)!

    • She embodied the classic Italian beauty with, as you say, the voice of an angel. I think I would be okay if someone thought of me everytime they saw a bowl of colorful, multi-shaped, homegrown vegetables. Thanks for sharing your memory!

  • Curious about letting the sauce rest until dinnertime. How long? I got a late start tonight, and I suspect there won’t be much melding 😉

    I am glad to hear about the canned tomato substitution — I can imagine this will be a great recipe as written next summer, but we’re deep into fall on the way to winter here.

    Also, we LOVE the sheet pan lemon chicken at our house. I mentor a group of high school girls around books, and after the first time I fed them lemon chicken, it gets requests, just like my caesar salad does. Oh yeah — food is the incentive for the reading.

    • The Nashville Food Project gets requests for meals from civic agencies like the police department and community centers when they offer a series of classes for pregnant teens or to help kids get out of gangs. A hope meal definitely helps get them there! I LOVE hearing how your group of teens requests the lemon chicken.
      As for the melding time — I’ve found pouring the mixture in a bowl for just ten minutes draws the juices together and makes the whole thing taste better. Let me know! Thanks for writing, Pam!

  • This looks so good – and easier than I thought it would be. I’m going to have to try this. Oh man, Anna maria Alberghetti- that brings back memories, along with “I’m Rula Lenska.”

    • Oh my gosh! Another flash back into the past! I just Googled a few of her VO5 ads. I love the way she says “salon” with the emphasis on the first syllable.

  • I made this yesterday. Winner! We will be seeing this a lot this winter.

    • So happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for writing.

  • I love the recipes, but unless I’m just not seeing it, there never seems to be a “print” button to efficiently print the recipe out. Am I missing it somewhere?

  • I made this yesterday and it was fantastic. A couple of things: yes, use olives! I did use canned tomatoes and overtrained them–I could have used more juice when I put it on top of the pasta.

    Thank you!

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