Pollo alla cacciatora is one of the most typical italian dishes and it comes from the traditional peasant food. “Alla cacciatora” means “like hunters” that used to flavour with rosmarin and garlic the game just after hunted.
Many regions, in particular in central Italy, claim the origin of Pollo alla cacciatora but
Rome seems to be its most likely home. In fact, the romans cook “alla cacciatora” also rabbit,
lamb or stew beef and those recipes are constantly displayed as traditional food in the local
taverns of the capital.
According to different regions, the recipe can vary in some details but the result is always
delicious. Firstly, the chicken’s skin should be removed, then the meat has to be cut in pieces
and put to stir fry in a pan with olive oil for a few minutes. When the chicken begins to
change colour minced garlic, rosemary, sage and chilli pepper have to be added. Within few
minutes, white wine can be useful to give more taste to the sauce and help all the flavours to
Depending on different points of view, tomato sauce and/or black olives could be mixed in
the pan but what is essential to put on, before ending, is white vinegar which gives the
distinct sour touch that distinguish this plate.
Overall, it is a characterful dish where the delicate taste of the white meat is lifted up by the
strength of the garlic and the spiciness of the chilli pepper. Despite the strong flavour of the
sauce, the dish , thanks to the Mediterranean herbs, is quite aromatic and leaves a pleasant
fresh mouth feeling.
Therefore in regards of wine pairing, to enhance the food, is advised to go for something full
in fruit aromas and low in tannins.
A great match can be considered the “Santa Maddalena Classico” 2018 by Pfannenstielhof,
Alto Adige DOC. This wine is made by Schiava which is a native grape from north-east of
Italy and has a profile similar to Pinot noir. Schiava tends to give delicate wines low in
alcohol and performs well even with little or no manipulation in the winery. In fact, Santa
Maddalena Classico by Pfannenstielhof , after a fermentation on the skins for 10 days, goes
only few months in stainless steel tank before to be released.
The result is a medium to full body wine, with a smooth palate of fresh strawberries and
blueberries, low in tannins and moderate in alcohol. The fresh style of the wine can match
perfectly the delicate chicken’s meat. The savoury sauce alla cacciatora makes the wine taste
fuller and it blends nicely with the silky tannins. Moreover the aromatic note of the
Mediterranean herbs finds a good support in the persistent length of the ripe black fruits in
To sum up, Pollo alla cacciatora is a tradition which, as such, has to be respected and
preserved. The poor origin and strong flavours can mislead to think about it just like rustic
food. Conversely, within its powerful and complex taste, it can be perfect in a traditional
tavern, in a fancy restaurant or as a great partner of a fine wine.