If you are in Rome or its nearby countryside during summer and if you enter one of the typical country trattoria you will catch a particular scent that is very familiar to all the locals: chicken with peppers.
The decision to dedicate a story to chicken is not casual, in fact chicken is the traditional dish of August in the Roman countryside and the key ingredients are very simple. Chicken with peppers is a dish that evokes the Roman countryside, there is all summer in it.
With or without Tomatoes? Over the centuries these variations have characterized the different areas and Italian towns.
One place to taste it is to go to Isola del Liri, the incredible village near Frosinone where the Liri forms a waterfall right in the centre of the village, and taste it during the Festival of chicken with peppers. The event is in July on the occasion of the Feast of the SS. Crocifisso.
Alternatively, in Ravello, on the Amalfi coast, chicken with peppers is the traditional dish associated with the patron Saint Pantaleone and is eaten on July 27th. It is said that the recipe has been handed down since the 1700s when it was cooked with the addition of quince.
The recipe that I offer is revised and lightened for modern tastes with the eye on the scales.
Remember that for a good dish you have to choose the right ingredients and in this case the best chicken is the free range that can be found in the butchers where the butcher will tell you where it is sourced. Often butchers like to talk a lot but this is a way to learn a lot of things and spend a good time, a wait that will increase the pleasure of the dish.
The peppers? I recommend those in the open field a little ‘more unsightly’ but good to die for with the yellow and red giving colour to the pot
You begin by boning the chicken and cutting it into small pieces. These are then sautéed with oil and herbs from the field blended with wine. But what are these ‘herbs’? Chop the ends off a fresh spring onion and put together with marjoram and a sprig of rosemary, then add garlic and fresh chilli.
The peppers are prepared separately with the traditional process in which they are lightly cooked in the oven and peeled to be more digestible.
Chicken and peppers come together only at the end for a short blending together in the pan in which you cooked the chicken.
Serve it using a pastry cutter … and garnish it with a basil leaf. Unfailing in the summer!
Which is the best wine I recommend for an unforgettable combination? A biodynamic white wine and my choice is Fatia of Palazzo Tronconi with Malvasia puntinata and Trebbiano grapes for a combination of rare elegance.
The vineyard and the winery are located in Arce, also in Ciociaria near Frosinone, a village whose history began before the Romans and a village that is establishing itself as one of the centres of Ciociaria popular music. Do not miss the Ballarella Festival in May.