The sweetness of the peppers, the smokiness of the prosciutto, and freshness from the basil — expect an explosion of flavors in every serving of Roman Chicken (also known as Pollo alla Romana). No need to travel to Rome to experience this traditional dish. Give it a try!
(*This post contains some affiliate links)
The locals typically serve this during summer, when tomatoes and bell peppers are in season. But I don’t care; I make roman chicken the whole year-round in Stockholm.
Now you can do the same!
IF YOU WANT MORE TRADITIONAL ITALIAN RECIPES, THEN YOU WILL LOVE THESE POSTS!
- Olive oil – I strongly suggest using extra virgin olive oil, if possible.
- Bell peppers – I always use a combination of red and yellow bell peppers.
- Basil – you need fresh basil for this roman chicken recipe.
- Tomatoes – I use cherry tomatoes in this recipe because it was in season.
- Prosciutto – note that its prosciutto crudo, not prosciutto cotto that you need for making pollo alla romana.
- Tomato paste – just use your favorite brand.
- Garlic – minced or thinly sliced.
- Onion – thinly sliced.
- Chicken – chopped; with both skin and bones.
- Balsamic vinegar – a good, creamy brand would be excellent.
- Seasoning – peperoncino, salt, and ground black pepper.
Start your roman chicken preparation by preheating the oven to 225°C (435°F) — for roasting the bell peppers.
Place bell peppers on a baking tray, pour and rub half a tablespoon of olive oil on them (photo 1).
Place in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes, or just until you see their skin starting to turn brown.
Once the peppers have cooled down, peel them, remove the membrane and seeds, and chop them into half-an-inch width.
While the peppers are roasting, you can continue seasoning the chopped chicken with salt and pepper (photo 2).
Using a large pan or skillet, pour the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is ready, start browning the chicken — leave some space in between the pieces of chicken (photo 3).
Remove the chicken and set it aside.
Lower the heat to medium and add garlic and onion; cook for a few minutes until they softened.
Add the prosciutto. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the browned chicken back into the pan (photo 4).
Add salt, pepper, peperoncino, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Mix to combine and add torn basil leaves (photo 5).
Mix and turn the heat back to medium-high. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to a boil. Adjust flame to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked (about twenty to twenty-five minutes).
Take the pan off the heat and add roasted peppers and balsamic vinegar. Mix (photo 6).
Your pollo alla romana is now ready for serving — garnish with more fresh basil leaves, if desired.
- You can chop the prosciutto differently when you make your roman chicken. I used to slice them thinly since that’s how I usually buy them from the counter, but nowadays, I prefer to chop them into cubes.
- Feel free to grill the peppers directly on the stovetop or outside.
- Do not overcook the bell peppers; there should still be a bit of bite left on them. Make sure you stop cooking them as soon as you see blisters on their skins.
- Do not skip the balsamic vinegar at the end. It provides a different kind of ‘sweetness’ to the dish — one that gives pollo alla romana that distinct taste.
- Other types of tomato. You can use whatever kind of tomatoes you have. Try to use fresh ones, though, not canned tomatoes.
- Other types of pepper. Bell peppers are the only types you should use for roman chicken — and you can use any color EXCEPT green bell peppers.
Red, yellow, orange; they all turn sweet when roasted, but not the green ones. The slight bitterness in its flavor does not go well with roman chicken.
So, give this roman chicken a try this week and let me know what you think!
Roman Chicken Recipe (Pollo alla Romana)
- 1 kg chicken, rinsed and chopped (about 2 lbs)
- 3 & 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper, (or two medium)
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, (or two medium)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped thinly
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 3/4 cup prosciutto, cubed
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 12 pcs cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 15 pcs fresh basil leaves, torn into halves (plus more for garnish)
- 1 & 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to season
- dash peperoncino, (or chili flakes)
Preparing the peppers:
- Preheat oven to 225°C (435°F).
- Place the bell peppers on an ovenproof tray and rub them with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Place the tray in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the skin starts turning dark.
- Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, membrane and seeds and cut them lengthwise, 1/2 inch wide. Set aside.
- While the peppers are in the oven though, you can proceed with the rest of the steps.
Making roman chicken:
- Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper — generously.
- Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is ready, start browning the chicken. Do this in batches to leave enough space between the pieces of chicken.
- Take the browned chicken out of the pan and set them aside.
- Once you have finished with the chicken, adjust heat to medium. Add garlic and onion.
- Cook until the onion has softened a bit, then add prosciutto and mix.
- Add the chicken back into the pan.
- Add salt, pepper, peperoncino, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Mix to combine.
- Add torn basil leaves and mix.
- Adjust the heat back into medium-high and cover the pan with a lid.
- Bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
- Take the pan out of the heat and add the chopped, roasted peppers.
- Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and mix to combine.
- Serve your roman chicken, and add more fresh basil, if preferred.
- Cook’s Tip #1: Use red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, but NEVER green. Its slight bitterness does not go well with roman chicken.
- Cook’s Tip#2: Instead of roasting, you can grill the peppers directly on the stovetop or an outside grill (especially during summer).
- Cook’s Tip #3: Any type of tomato will work, but fresh ones are better than canned for roman-style chicken.
- Cook’s Tip #4: Make sure the peppers are not overcooked. There should still be a bit of crunch in them when you add them last.
- Cook’s Tip #5: You can slice the prosciutto thinly if you prefer.
- Cook’s Tip #6: Do not skip the drizzling (and mixing) of balsamic vinegar in the end. It gives roman chicken that distinct sweetness combined with the smokiness of the peppers.