Sicilian Spezzatino


Braised, roasted, simmered and stewed, these are the types of dishes that are calling my name. When the weather is cold outside, few things are more comforting than a pot roast in the oven or a simmering stew on the stove.

An Italian stew is called spezzatino (Italian verb spezzare means “to cut up”) or stufato (Italian verb stufare means “to stew”). To the busy home cook it means a healthy, satisfying and comforting meal that is even better as leftovers. Some enjoy this tangy stew with pasta, (orzo) others like it served with a chunk of crusty rustic bread (to soak up the juices).


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can cut tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 pounds chicken (I used chicken breasts with the ribs and legs because that’s what I had in the frig)
  • 12 Kalamata olives, chopped
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil, add celery, carrots and onions. Saute over medium heat until onions are translulcent (5-10 minutes).
  2. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, capers, garlic, oregano, Italian seasoning, broth and wine.
  3. Submerge the chicken in the sauce, bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low, simmer uncovered 30 minutes, (stirring occasionally) until the chicken is cooked and the liquid has reduced to the consistency of stew.
  5. Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut the meat from the bones into pieces, (discard the skin and bones).
  6. Transfer the chicken to the pan, add the olives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the stew 10 minutes.
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