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This play on Italian puttanesca will inevitably become your easy, one-pot weeknight staple. 

Gussy up your weeknight rice bake with some inspiration from Italy. This one-pan puttanesca leans heavily on pantry staples, like anchovies, garlic, and capers, for an umami-bomb of flavor, making it an ideal weeknight-friendly dinner that packs a punch.

What Is Puttanesca?

Puttanesca—a sauce built out of tomatoes, olives, garlic, and anchovies—gets its name from the Italian ladies of the night who were said to whip up the sauce in between clients, thanks to how quickly it comes together. These days, puttanesca is still beloved, thanks to its ease and reliance on staple ingredients most people have at home—no trip to the grocery store required!

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While the origins of puttanesca sauce are a bit murky, most recipes are in agreement that tomatoes, olives, and capers are non-negotiable. Some regional Italian variations use anchovies, while others add in green bell peppers. For those who are olive-averse, just leave them out and double the capers to ensure the sauce is getting that salty, brininess. 

Traditionally, puttanesca is paired with pasta. This riff relies on rice for the base, crowned with crispy chicken thighs for a well-rounded meal.

Alexis deBoschnek

Go with the Grain: Rice Bake

Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or meal prepping for the week, rice bakes are an easy weeknight option that take little effort to execute. While some people are wary of making rice for fear that it’ll burn or won’t cook all the way through, rice bakes tend to be less fickle and more forgiving, thanks to their saucier nature. Some rice bakes are finished off in the oven, but for the sake of ease on a weeknight, this recipe stays stovetop from start to finish. The best part? It’s all done in one pan, making clean-up a breeze.

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Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Jasmine and Basmati Rice?

Weeknight Puttanesca Chicken & Rice Bake

Pro Tip:  If you want to skip the rice, just add the chicken back to the pan after simmering the tomatoes to finish cooking, and serve with pasta or good, crusty bread.

Puttanesca Chicken and Rice Bakes

Prep Time: 15 minutesCook Time: 30 minutesServes: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 anchovies
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1¾ cups chicken stock
  • Parsley, chopped, to serve
  • Flaky sea salt, to serve
Instructions
  1. On a cutting board, season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and oregano on both sides.
  2. Heat the oil in a large stainless steel or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken thighs skin-side down. Cook for 6-8 minutes without moving the chicken, until the skin is golden brown and easily comes loose from the pan. Flip the chicken over and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the fat in the pan.
  4. Add the anchovy and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until aromatic.
  5. Add the tomatoes, olives, and capers and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the white wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits, for 2 minutes, until the alcohol has burned off and no longer smells.
  7. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine, bringing the mixture to a boil. Nestle the browned chicken thighs, skin-side up, in the rice and reduce heat to simmer. Place a lid on the pan and cook for 20 minutes, until the rice and chicken are cooked through.
  8. Turn off the heat and keep lid on for 5 minutes.
  9. Top with parsley and flaky sea salt before serving.

Header image courtesy of Alexis deBoschnek

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