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Pollo alla Romana
This traditional dish hails from the Castelli Romani in Lazio, a collection of townships southeast of Rome and home to several castles, which were inhabited by noble Roman families as far back as the fourteenth century. Scattered throughout the Alban Hills, the lands around Castelli Romani occupy a now-dormant volcanic area known to the ancient Romans as Latium Volcano. With its mineral-rich, fertile terrain, this part of Italy has long been associated with agriculture and viticulture. One of central Italy’s most renowned wines Frascati DOCG is produced here.
Not surprisingly, the local cuisine is characterised by an abundance of farm-fresh vegetables and meats, in addition to its excellent wines. This recipe is typically prepared for the 15th August holiday Ferragosto. Ideally, Pollo alla Romana or Pollo con i Peperoni, as it is also called, should be made with a free-range spring chicken, sun-ripened organic peppers and tomatoes, and a dry white wine from the Castelli production zone – but any dry white will do.
1 chicken, free-range, jointed
600g of peppers, mixture of red and yellow
300g of tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed
2 garlic cloves
65ml of dry white wine
1 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of oregano, chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1 Slice the peppers lengthwise into 6 to 8 thick wedges and clean well, removing the seeds and stringy white parts. Rinse the wedges and set aside
2 Heat the olive oil in a very large, tall casserole dish with a fitted lid. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, swirling it around to flavour the oil
3 Remove the garlic (optional). Add the chicken pieces to the oil and brown well on all sides. Work in batches if needed then return all the pieces back to the pot
4 Salt and pepper the chicken. Pour in the wine, let it evaporate then add the tomatoes. Cover and cook for another 3–5 minutes, then add the sliced peppers and mix well
5 Cook for 45–50 minutes on medium heat with a wooden spoon wedged under the casserole lid to allow for a slow release of steam. Turn the chicken pieces and stir occasionally
6 Garnish the chicken and peppers with the oregano sprigs. Serve with rustic bread and a drizzle of the cooking juices