Authentic Chicken Scarpariello Recipe

Chicken scarpariello, or shoemaker's chicken, is a one-dish meal made with pan-fried chicken thighs, Italian sausage and pickled peppers. This Italian-American dish of sweet and sour chicken thighs is a feast for the eyes and mouth, combining a mix of textures and flavors you don't often expect in Italian food, says food blogger & photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table. Scarpariello translates as "shoemaker's" style, and it's a label attributed to all manner of Italian dishes originating from Naples. While pasta alla scarpariello also exists, undoubtedly the most famous among them is Chicken Scarpariello.

At its core, this is a simple dish of braised chicken in pickled pepper and sausage sauce, hearty peasant fare that comes from working-class Italian-American families. In our version, we use easy-to-find ingredients to make this delicious lesser-known classic easily attainable by all. Make your one-pan chicken scarpariello for dinner tonight, and take a trip to Naples through your kitchen.

Gather the ingredients for this authentic chicken scarpariello recipe

The ingredients list here is a bit elaborate, but it'll all be worth it when you taste the final sweet-and-sour dish. We also made some alterations when needed to make the dish as accessible as possible. From the proteins, you will need skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, and 3-4 links of Italian sausage.

From the produce section, grab an onion, a bell pepper, a few garlic cloves, and some fresh rosemary or sage, as well as parsley. From the pantry, grab a jar of pickled peppers. The original dish is traditionally made using Peppadew peppers, those elusive little red sweet-spicy peppers, but any pickled peppers will work. We used pepperoncini as they are easier to find.

Grapeseed or olive oil, dry white wine, chicken broth, and sugar wrap up our ingredient list.

Pan-fry the chicken thighs

Preheat the oven to 450°F, and prepare all the ingredients. Measure everything out in small bowls, and dice all the produce. This will make cooking much faster and easier as we go.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Set it aside and preheat a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pan to medium-high heat. Add oil, then add chicken breasts to pan, skin side down. Saute your chicken for 8 minutes on the first side, until the chicken is nicely browned and releases from the pan easily. Flip it over and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan and transfer onto a paper towel-lined plate, setting it aside. Reserve the remaining oil in the pan.

Cook the sausage

Add the whole Italian sausages to the same pan in which you cooked the chicken. Lower heat to medium and saute the sausages until they're browned on both sides, about 5-6 minutes. Do not worry about cooking it through as it will cook further in the oven. Take care not to overcook as it can burn the outside of the sausage and leave the inside rubbery and chewy.

Remove the cooked sausages from the pan, turn off the heat and transfer to a cutting board. Slice each sausage into 4-5 pieces. Add the sausage slices to the same plate with the chicken, and set aside.

Saute the vegetables

In the same pan in which we cooked our proteins, add the onions and bell peppers. Set the pan to medium heat and saute the vegetables until the bell peppers are slightly softened and the onions have become golden, about 4 minutes.

Add sliced garlic cloves, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Take care not to make the mistake of burning the garlic. Add the pickled peppers along with their pickling liquid, wine, broth, sugar, and fresh rosemary or sage to the pan. Stir to combine. You should end up with a sweet, tangy sauce that smells of the aromas of wine and vinegar.

Pop the chicken scarpariello in the oven for baking

Add the sausage and chicken pieces back to the pan. Arrange the chicken thighs skin side up, nestling it within the sauce. Arrange the sausages around the chicken, tucking them in wherever possible. Don't worry about making this tidy or particularly organized — this is a filling, simple dish that should not be fussy or overworked.

Transfer the one-pan chicken scarpariello to the oven to cook at 450°F for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the middle of the thigh registers 165°F.

Serve the chicken scarpariello with additional parsley

Rejoice, your chicken scarpariello is now ready to be served, and you are about to be transported to the dinner scene from "Moonstruck" – only with less shouting.

Serve chicken scarpariello warm out of the oven, sprinkled with fresh parsley. Your house will smell like a fantastic, authentic tarratoria, with the smells of vinegar and wine intermingling with sausage and roasted chicken. The meat will be moist and chewy, while the sausage should provide plenty of bite and heat. The pickled peppers and garlic cloves are the high notes on which the whole dish rises, elevating this into something unique and spell-binding.

Leftover chicken scarpariello will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for four days.

Authentic Chicken Scarpariello Recipe
4.9 from 24 ratings
This simple Italian-American dish has its roots in Naples and delivers a hearty meal that comes together quickly, all in a single pan.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
4
servings
two plates of chicken scarpariello and wine
Total time: 45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 3-4 links of Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ cup pickled, sliced Italian peppers with brine (Peppadew or pepperoncini peppers are best, but any pickled peppers will do)
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary or sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or as needed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, or as needed
Optional Ingredients
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Prep the ingredients.
  2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
  3. Preheat a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pan to medium-high heat. Add oil, then add chicken breasts to pan, skin side down. Saute for 8 minutes on the first side, until chicken is nicely browned and releases from the pan easily. Flip over and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and transfer onto a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve the oil.
  4. Add sausage back to the same pan. Lower heat to medium and saute sausage until browned on both sides, about 6-8 minutes. Do not worry about cooking it through as it will cook further in the oven. Remove sausages from the pan, turn off the heat and slice each sausage into 4 pieces. Add sausage to the plate with chicken, and set aside.
  5. Saute the vegetables: in the same pan, add onions and bell peppers. Saute until peppers are slightly softened and onions have become golden, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pickled peppers with pickling liquid, wine, broth, sugar, and fresh rosemary or sage. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the sausage and chicken pieces back to the pan. Arrange the chicken skin side up, nestling it within the sauce.
  7. Transfer chicken scarpariello to the oven to cook at 450°F for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer registers 165°.
  8. Serve chicken scarpariello warm out of the oven, sprinkled with fresh parsley.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 940
Total Fat 70.7 g
Saturated Fat 21.1 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 265.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 17.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Total Sugars 10.4 g
Sodium 1,117.7 mg
Protein 48.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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