Nothing like a good chicken pomodoro to remind you of how well the Italians like to eat.
One of the reasons I love to visit Italy is because no matter where you turn, the food is delicious.
And in some ways it reminds me of some countries in the Middle East.
There are Arab connections to Italy that go back centuries to when Muslims inhabited Southern Italy.
And no doubt that the influences of the two cultures went in both directions, contributing to both cuisines.
Chicken and tomato are both eaten in the Middle East in abundance.
What is Chicken Pomodoro?
Pomodoro means tomato in Italian, which comes from pomi d’oro which translates as golden apple.
The first tomatoes that came to Italy were the yellow variety, and eventually the golden tomato became the red tomato.
Pomi d’oro became pomodoro naming this dish as it was, simply chicken cooked with tomato.
You would think the tomato was indiginous to Italy given how pervasive tomatoes are in the food.
But tomatoes actually came to Europe from the new world where it was first thought they were poisonous.
That perception has changed, and tomatoes are eaten right around the world.
Tomatoes were prized for being an ornamental plant that became known as the apples of love.
This was because of the shape and color of the tomatoes; they were commonly given by men to women as gifts.
I don’t know how far a gift of tomatoes would get you today, unless of course they were of the heirloom variety.
How to Make the Dish
Cut up some chicken breasts, and add the chicken to a large pan with olive oil.
Cook chicken over medium high heat until golden brown on the outside and still under done on the inside.
Remove chicken and set aside, leaving the remaining oil in the pan, then add the onions.
Saute the onions until soft, then add then add garlic, and cook a couple minutes more.
Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, stir well until completely mixed, then add the tomatoes and cream.
Return chicken to the tomato mixture, and cook on low heat until chicken is cooked through, and tender.
Transfer to a plate and season with salt if desired or lemon juice.
Some recipes call for you to remove the pan from the heat, and add vodka before removing the cooked chicken.
Then you add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth followed by cooked pasta.
Once the chicken is in the serving dish, spoon the tomato sauce over the top.
Garnish the serving dish with chopped fresh basil.
Food and Family
Food is something Italians take pride in, and for good reason, they take it very seriously.
Eating is about life, sharing the freshness, goodness, enjoyment and pleasure of food and family..
Italian food culture reminds me of the Arabs, and how much they value food, and how it brings people together.
Making a point to be present with others brings us closer, and sharing food is something primal.
We are social creatures, and we need others to make our lives complete whether we come from Italy or Palestine.
Chicken Pomodoro Recipe
- 1¼ lb Chicken Breast sliced into thick pieces
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Onion diced
- 6 Garlic Cloves minced
- ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes
- ⅓ cup Heavy Cream
- ½ cup Fresh Basil chopped
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- Heat oil in a pan. Brown chicken to give it some color. Remove chicken before it is cooked through.
- Add onions and saute until softened and translucent.
- Add garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.
- Add tomatoes and mix well.
- Add cream and mix until you have a uniform color.
- Put chicken back in the pan and cook on low heat until tender and done, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add the basil, and stir in. Serve hot with rice.