Chicken with the Roma Colours (giallorosso)

I’m not a particularly enthusiastic football supporter  … but if I am asked which team I go for then the answer is a definite ‘Roma’ – Viva la Roma!    The singer with the gravelly voice, Antonello Venditti, wrote a song for his much loved team called “Grazie Roma!” : His previous song “Roma, Roma, Roma” has become its anthem and I remember buying the single (i.e. vinyl record 45) in the early seventies and playing it at boarding school in England and belting out the words very loudly, much to the bewilderment and no doubt pained longsuffering of my fellow form members and friends.  It wasn’t so much the Roma football team that got me going, but the Eternal City itself which I was missing dreadfully.

The Roma football team’s colours are red and yellow (as Antonelli Venditti sings “gialla come il sole, rossa come il core mio”) i.e. yellow just like the sun and as red as the heart.  And red and yellow, of course, are the colours of the capsicum/peppers that go with the traditional Roman recipe “pollo con i peperoni” (chicken with peppers).  I wrote up one such recipe in a post in June of last year (see  I thought I would do a little variation on the theme …

Put the peperoni (capiscum/bell peppers) in a saucepan …

Add hot water and put the lid on and stew for about 20 minutes.

And here is a lovely chicken (‘pollo ruspante’) cut up for my by the butcher.  He highly recommended it — it came from the “Avicunicula Russo” chicken farm in Fossalto, near Campobasso in Molise and was raised the way chickens used to be raised once upon a time.  The price reflected this approach and one chicken cost me Eu 19.20 — compare that with an average supermarket chicken costing and average of Eu 5.00!

Drizzle a little olive oil into a frying pan and brown the pieces of chicken on quite a high heat.  Once they have browned on one side, turn them over to brown on the other side.  Do this only once (i.e. turn them once only).

I couldn’t fit all the chicken pieces in my frying pan, so I browned them in batches.  I added salt and pepper too.

And here are all the chicken pieces, all nicely browned, transferred onto a dish temporarily.  The browning is not a difficult task, but it does take time.  It took me about half an hour to do.

Add a little more olive oil to the frying pan as well as some garlic cut quite thin.  Add as little or as much garlic as you like.  In this case, there were three cloves.

I then added some rosemary needles and one solitary leaf of sage.  Sage can be overpowering, so I opted for just a hint.

Cover the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce.  Do not put too much tomato sauce in — just as with the sage, we want a hint of tomato, not a soup.Place the chicken pieces, all of them, all pressed together, over the bed of tomato sauce, garlic, rosemary, sage and pan fats and olive oil … turn the heat on, cover with a lid, and cook until … cooked!  In this case it took just over 15 minutes.

Time to get on with the peperoni, which I wanted to turn into two separate sauces.

The peperoni had cooled down by now … I tried peeling the skin of the peperoni, and gave up very quickly.  I haven’t got that kind of patience.  Had I roasted them in the oven, where they would have blistered, I might have had a better chance but “pazienza!” (patience, never mind) as they say in Italian … my peperoni were going to have most of their skin on. I cut them up, deseeded them, and left them to drip some of their liquid away in a colander.

For the yellow peperone, I thought I would add a little chopped spring onion to the mix.

I put yellow peperone in the processor, together with the chopped spring onion, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, a drizzle of olive oil and a few basil leaves.

I used the pulse function to mush everything up for me and then set it aside.

For the red peperone sauce, I thought I would add garlic (in order to differentiate it from the yellow sauce).  Fresh garlic can be a little too ‘garlicky’, however, for some people (myself included in this case) and so I opted for a beautiful compromise. The above are cloves of garlic that have been lightly stewed in boiling water and vinegar, drained and then packed in oil.  They retain all the sweetness and taste of fresh garlic without any of the pungence and sulphurous breath-ruining effects (garlic is a great source of sulphur, which is another good reason to consume it in abundance but we have to draw the line at bad breath sometimes, in the interest of encounters of the intimate kind).

Here is a close-up of the jar … it was a present from friends who come from Foggia, in Puglia.  My son loves these garlic cloves and we are about to run out.  Maybe I could try making some at home?  Whatever … they proved a life-saver for me that day.

And, rather than adding sugar to the red peperone sauce, I thought I would use a teaspoon of honey instead.  So … in the processor went the chopped up and drained red capsicum, a few leaves of basil, salt, the honey and two of the garlic cloves packed in oil, and a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper.

And here we are: da daaaaa, ladies and gentlemen …. two sauces bearing the Roma colours.

I used a teaspoon to put dollops of the sauces, alternating colours, onto a dinner plate.  You can see how highly I regard ‘fuss’, can’t you …. In my defence, it was getting rather late (well past 9 p.m.) and the usual aesthetic spiel about ‘anche l’occhio vuole la sua parte’ (the eye wants its share too) was not very convincing by the time I got to serve dinner.


The chicken was nearly cooked and I turned the chicken pieces over as much as I could, to make sure the sauce was coating them properly.

I added a splodge of wine and turned up the heat so that the alcohol would evaporate …

And can you see how saucy the sauce is looking now?

I placed a few pieces of chicken on top of the dollops of sauces which had by now almost melded together … and plopped a little sprig of basil leaves on top.

I was actually quite proud of myself in the end, in terms of presentation ….

But there is another version if you can’t be bothered … and that is to use a nice ceramic serving plate:

The chicken can be served on the large serving plate and ….

The sauces can be served in glasses … easy peasy and everyone can take as little or as much of the sauces as they desire.

Oh … and the chicken?  Delicious, really really good.  I’d rather eat expensive chicken like this once in a while than the cheap-and-nasty variety on a regular basis.

I absolutely agree with what one of my favourite food experts, Mr Gareth Jones, has to say on the matter:  Mr Jones’ reminds of  me the Roma colours too … plenty of heart (red) and plenty of sunshine (yellow).

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in italian home food, Secondi (main course, usually meat based), Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Chicken with the Roma Colours (giallorosso)

  1. Lovely post and the chicken looks amazing. I agree with you – I’d rather have a really good chicken occasionally or smaller portions than those cheap, stringy and tasteless ones from supermarkets more frequently.

  2. josephine says:

    The chicken WAS nice, thank you Ms Single Gourmet Traveller …. I can’t wait to be invited to dinner by you one of these days, who knows in the not too distant future! You seem to really enjoy your food in a way that I really appreciate.

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