Chicken Puttanesca is a delicious and easy one-skillet meal. It starts with pan fried chicken breasts, aubergine and a classic puttanesca sauce. It’s made with amazing Mediterranean flavors such as cherry tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers, anchovies, fresh oregano, and olive oil. This dish is the perfect weeknight dinner – it’s easy to throw together, perfectly filling and delicious! All the ingredients are typical of Italian cuisine and complement each other perfectly.
Rather than serving the famous Neapolitan “puttanesca” sauce with pasta, the same feisty tomato sauce is paired with eggplant and juicy, tender boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It’s a puttanesca-inspired sauce that is packed with salty, savory flavors and the briny magic of anchovies and their indescribable umami quality that keeps us wanting more. It’s fantastically healthy too, for a vegetarian version, go ahead and skip the chicken and add in another eggplant. Eggplants are filled with fibre and lots of disease fighting antioxidants!
Key ingredients for Chicken Puttanesca
I prefer to use chicken breasts, however you could also look for bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs. Because they have more fat, they are more flavourful and impart even more flavour to the sauce.
If you can find it, chose Barbarella eggplant. You’ll recognise this Sicilian eggplant by its round, dark purple colour that sports a subtle white halo, which by the way indicates it’s tenderness, the more white, the more tender. It has a wonderfully dense flesh and excellent taste – it’s has a mild, nutty and slightly sweet goodness.
The anchovies give this recipe subtle umami flavour but they do not make this dish taste fishy at all.
Pitted olives and capers
Olives and capers adds a kick of flavour to the sauce. I like to use Greek Kalamata olives, as they are one of my favourites, but for an authentic flavour, choose an Italian variety of olive.
Sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes will give you the taste of summer in every bite. The texture and taste is unbeatable, however, the next best thing would be canned cherry tomatoes (such as Mutti).
Fresh red chili
if you don’t have fresh chili on hand, then use red pepper flakes instead. Both give the sauce a little extra kick without being too assertive.
This gives the puttanesca sauce a classic Mediterranean flavour.
The added chopped parsley and basil leaves adds a welcome freshness.
If you like this Chicken Puttanesca recipe, you might also like:
- Chicken Marsala With Mushrooms
- Classic Caesar Salad with Roasted Chicken
- Mediterranean Chicken Skillet
- Autumn Chicken and Mushroom Stew
Sicilian Puttanesca Chicken with Barbarella Eggplant
- 4 organic skinless boneless chicken breast halves (organic)
- 1 medium-sized eggplant, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3-4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste)
- 1/2 cup white wine (120 ml)
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons capers, chopped
- 500 g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
- 1 fresh red chili, deseeded and sliced into strips
- handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1-2 sprigs oregano, leaves removed and finely diced
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- additional salt may not be needed, so be sure to taste for seasoning
- handful of fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Flatten any thick slices of chicken with a meat hammer (or a rolling pin!) so that they are even, season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, add remaining oil and eggplant cubes and sauté until the edges begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, shallot, and anchovies and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the wine, olives, capers, tomato and red chili and increase the heat to medium high, until it reaches a simmer.
Add the chicken to the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes, turning chicken once as it cooks. Stir in the oregano and parsley. Season sauce with freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste.
Transfer the chicken onto a serving platter, spoon the sauce over the chicken and garnish with basil and parmesan, if using.
This dish is particularly tasty served over pasta or polenta. Enjoy!
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