ChickenCuisineGrilledItalianMainsMeatQuick & Easy

Spicy Italian Chicken Casserole

20 Mins Cook
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NomNom Recipes 24

Crispy chicken in spicy tomato sauce with paprika/sweet peppers, olives and capers. It’s called Italian chicken casserole because it’s like a sauce-heavy stew that you can pour over crispy bread or drizzle over pasta. An amazing and filling dinner that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes!

NomNom Recipes 25
Spicy Italian Chicken Casserole – NomNomWow

This Italian chicken casserole was inspired by Italian-American chef and restaurateur Mario Batali’s Sicilian chicken recipe. He’s also one of the employees at Eataly, a popular New York-based Italian restaurant that I visited the most during my last visit to New York. Souvenir, light lunch, afternoon tea (oh pastry counter!!), early evening glass of wine (oh wine bar!
!) with cheese and jerky (oh deli!), or a full multi-course dinner (oh choice restaurant!!).

And while some go home wearing the obligatory “I ❤️ NYC” T-shirt, I always take home a cookbook from every country I visit. Don’t ask what’s different about buying Lidia and Mario Batali’s cookbook from Eataly when you can order it online with free shipping. It just is. And I curse my unrealistic decisions about the rest of the trip. Because it adds a few extra kilos to your luggage.

I remember doing the same thing in Mexico.

Mario Batali’s original recipe is actually quite different. It has carrots, celery, potatoes and eggplant, and much less sauce. Regular readers know I’m a fan of Sauce. If you’re sharing a sauce-less recipe or it’s not very spicy, there’s a good reason.

I wanted more sauce.

As for serving, I’m happy either way. It’s just tossing the sauce on crispy bread or pasta that you dip into the sauce. The sauce is good enough, half can be tossed in pasta and the other half served with chicken.

Spicy Italian Chicken Casserole

Spicy Italian Chicken Casserole

Crispy chicken in spicy tomato sauce with paprika/sweet peppers, olives and capers. It's called Italian chicken casserole because it's like a sauce-heavy stew that you can pour over crispy bread or drizzle over pasta. An amazing and filling dinner that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes!
prep time
10 Mins
cooking time
20 Mins
total time
30 Mins



  • 5 chicken thighs , skin on, bone in (about 200g / 7 oz each) (Note 1 for breast)

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves , minced

  • 1 medium onion , finely chopped

  • 1 EACH red and green capsicum / bell pepper , sliced

  • ½ cup / 125 ml white or red wine (any is fine, I use dry white) (Note 2 for subs)

  • 800 g / 28 oz can crushed tomato

  • ¾ cup / 185 ml water , swilled in empty tomato can

  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (chilli flakes), adjust to taste

  • 3/4 cup black olives , pitted (or 1/3 cup sliced)

  • 2 tbsp baby capers

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley


Use a small knife to cut up about 5 chicken skins. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken, skin side down, in a large, cold, nonstick skillet, then turn the stove to medium-high. When heated, the fat under the skin begins to melt through the pores of the skin.
Cook for 4-5 minutes or until skin is golden and crispy.
Turn the chicken over and cook the other side for 3 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a plate, drain the fat (do not scrape the pan), and return to the stove.
Add oil, garlic and onion. Boil for 1 minute, then add pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine.
Bring to a boil, stir, and scrape pan to combine golden bits.
When most of the wine has evaporated and the wine no longer smells, add the tomatoes, water and pepper flakes. Stir, bring to a simmer, and adjust heat to simmer vigorously but not quickly (not slow).
After about 5 minutes, add the olives and capers. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper.
Then add the chicken to the sauce, being careful not to overflow the skin. Boil for another 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with crispy bread or mix half of the sauce with pasta and half with chicken


CHICKEN BREAST option: Use 4 small breasts or 3 medium ones, pound to even thickness about 1.5cm / 2/3" thick (makes it more tender too). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, sear with 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Then add it back into the pan for 3 minutes at the end. 2. Sub with chicken broth or even water. 3. CRISPY SKIN: The technique used to make crispy skin is one I learned from my mother’s Teriyaki Chicken. It’s a super way to remove excess fat (and healthier too!!) to make the skin really crispy without using any oil to cook the chicken. 4. WORKFLOW: This recipe flows nicely in a way that you can easily get this on the table in 30 minutes. Start the chicken in the cold pan, and meanwhile start chopping the ingredients for the sauce. While the onion etc are being sautéed, open the tomatoes, grab you red pepper flakes. While the sauce is simmering, measure out the olives etc. See? Nice flow! 5. FALL APART MEAT: The chicken in this recipe is very juicy because it's thigh plus simmered in the sauce. However, I know some people are a fan of super tender meat so in order to do that, put the chicken into the sauce after you add the tomato and water, put the lid on and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender to your taste. You may need to add more water and you will lose the crispy skin, but you'll get super tender flesh! 6. NUTRITION: Please note that approximately 2.5 tbsp (300 calories) of fat is discard in this recipe but I don't know how to subtract that in the nutrition calculator. So the corrected estimated calories per serving is about 497 calories per serving.
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