This weeknight chicken puttanesca recipe is inspired from the popular puttanesca pasta that is loaded with briny and bold flavors of olives, capers and anchovies. This version has a pop of heat from Calabrian chilies that simmer with tomatoes, creating the most delicious sauce for the chicken to simmer in.
Why this Chicken Puttanesca Recipe Works
Puttanesca pasta is one of our favorite weeknight dinners. It uses pantry staples of olives, capers and anchovies and creates the most vibrant and savory weeknight dinner.
- This easy weeknight dinner is ready in nearly 30 minutes, thanks to easy to easy to cook chicken thighs.
- This is a one skillet recipe.
- LOTS of flavors! Thanks to two kinds of olives, garlic and flavorful Calabrian chiles that creates a robust sauce.
- Very Versatile: Use whatever olives you have on hand or different cuts of chicken, such as legs, breasts or serve the sauce over chicken cutlets.
Pantry Staple Ingredients
- Skin-On Chicken Thighs: The first step is to brown the chicken skin, which starts the dish off with great flavor.
- Anchovies: I promise you won’t “taste” the anchovies in the recipe, but it offers a fantastic savory layer. Use a few filets of jarred anchovies or a good squeeze of anchovy paste in a tube.
- Garlic: Fresh and chopped finely. A diced shallot would be delicious as well.
- Canned Tomatoes: Either crushed or diced tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will work too, but I suggest using in season tomatoes if you can.
- Red Wine: I like using a drier red wine, such as a blend, Cabernet or Merlot.
- Pitted Olives: This recipe has two kinds of olives, castelveltrano which are more mild and buttery. And Kalamata olives that are stronger and brinier. I like the combination of both, but use either one, if preferred.
- Capers: A classic in puttanesca and also really good in a lighter kale pasta with olives and capers.
- Calabrian Chiles: This has been my new obsession. Fantastic flavor with a bit of heat. You can find Calabrian chiles at most grocery stores and online.
Chicken Puttanesca with Calabrian Chiles
- 4 chicken thighs bone in and skin on
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 anchovy fillets
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped Calabrian chiles
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1/2 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives roughly chopped
- Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides and bring a wide skillet to medium heat.
- Drizzle with olive oil and place chicken thighs in the skillet, skin side down and cook until skin is golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Then turn over and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes.
- Once both sides of chicken are browned, remove and set aside on a plate. (The chicken will still be undercooked at this point).
- In the same skillet, add anchovy filets and saute in the chicken fat until dissolved. Stir in garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add calabrian chiles and give everything a good stir.
- Pour i red wine and use a spatula to scrape off any meaty bits from the pan. Allow wine to reduce for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in crushed tomatoes and give the sauce one more stir.
- Nestle the chicken into the sauce, skin side up and scatter cappers and chopped olives around the chicken.
- Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until chicken is cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes. The sauce should have chickened and chicken become very tender.
- Once done, remove from heat and serve chicken with puttanesca sauce.