Why You Need To Be Extra Careful Not To Overcook Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken scarpariello is something that you may only be able to find at an old-school Italian restaurant these days, but it seems to have been pretty popular in the '70s and '80s. The name comes from the Italian word for "shoemaker" — we have no idea why — and the dish itself consists of chicken cooked with sausages and peppers.

While some, more complicated takes on chicken scarpariello may call for using a mixture of fresh sweet and hot peppers and adding a small amount of vinegar to the sauce, developer Ksenia Prints opts to simplify things in her own chicken scarpariello recipe by omitting the spicy peppers and vinegar and replacing them with mild pickled peppers such as pepperoncini. While she calls the resulting dish "a feast for the eyes and mouth" that she feels "combin[es] a mix of textures and flavors you don't often expect in Italian food." she does give one caveat regarding a possible sausage-cooking mistake: "Take care not to overcook [them]," she tells us, explaining that doing so "can burn the outside of the sausage and leave the inside rubbery and chewy."

It's not just the sausages you don't want to overcook

In Prints' chicken scarpariello recipe, both the chicken and sausages are pre-cooked to some extent before being cooked casserole-style in the oven. The former she cooks for about 12 minutes in all (eight on one side, four on the other) — while she's opting for thighs here, breasts or a mixture of both could also be used. If the breasts are bone-in, though, they might need a bit longer to cook. As for the sausages, these she pan-fries for just five to six minutes.

As Prints points out about the sausage meat, although it applies to the chicken as well, "Do not worry about cooking it through as will cook further in the oven." The entire casserole gets baked at a high temperature (450 F) for 20 minutes, which should be plenty of time and heat to finish things off nicely. Just to be on the safe side, though, Prints advocates using a meat thermometer to make sure that the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F before you take the casserole out of the oven.