2 chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 – 2 green, red or yellow peppers, sliced in bite-sized pieces (optional)
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 small can Italian plum tomatoes (14 oz)
dried hot pepper flakes or piece (optional; to taste)
pinch of oregano (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese served at table
1 pound spaghetti, conchiglie, penne – your robust pasta of choice
In 1 tablespoon of the oil, lightly brown the cubed chicken. Drain and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil to the pan and saute the (optional) peppers. Drain and add to chicken.
Gently saute the onion and garlic (optional hot pepper) in the remaining oil/butter until they are light golden brown. (Note: if you like a ‘smokey’ flavor in the sauce, saute an ounce or so of chopped bacon or ‘pancetta’ at the beginning and saute until transparent, before you add the onions and garlic).
Carefully add the tomatoes (they can splatter in a hot pan), the optional pinch of oregano and cook on low-medium heat, uncovered until reduced to the consistency of sauce that you wish (usually 10 – 20 minutes, depending on how much liquid there is with the canned tomatoes. Add a bit of water if the sauce gets too thick. You can also use fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded – they will take longer to cook).
Set 4 quarts of salted water to boil in a large pot for the pasta.
You can hold the sauce at this point – making sure to leave adequate time to reheat the sauce, add the chicken and peppers and continue heating for another 5 minutes or so before serving.
Cook the pasta.You can reserve a little of the pasta water on the side to add to the sauce if the sauce is too dry – you can even do this on a per serving basis if some of your guests prefer their sauce with more liquid.
Drain the pasta. Add the sauce and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Try to serve in a hot serving dish or on warm plates, especially in the cool seasons.
Serve with grated cheese on the table.