This Chicken and Rice Recipe was my first “fall” dish, as it cooled off a little yesterday evening and I felt like something warm and comforting. I’ve made this enough times that the page in the cookbook (Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy) is wrinkled and splattered and I’ve almost got it memorized.
I see from my notes that I first made it in 2011 and it’s become one of our favorites. Originally I was going to just make a half a recipe, so I’d have some leftovers but not too much. Then my eldest stopped by to pick up some things and decided to stay for dinner, so I made the full recipe, sending some of the leftovers home with her. If you shop at Costco, this uses about half a package of their organic boneless skinless chicken thighs. I thawed them enough to separate what I needed, then put the rest back in the freezer for another night.
There are not many ingredients but the dish is very satisfying, full of flavor, especially if you make it with homemade chicken or turkey stock. The rice and vegetables cooked in broth are delicious and then you get a chunk of chicken in the next bite and it feels like a rich dish. The cooking time at the end is a guideline. Taste the rice and make sure it’s done. (The chicken should be for sure.) If it looks like there’s not enough liquid, add some hot water. If the rice is soupy, take the lid off and let some of it evaporate.
Lidia’s Chicken and Rice (Riso alla Pitocca)
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup onion, cut in chunks
- 1 cup celery, cut in chunks
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 5 cups hot chicken or turkey broth
- 2 cups Italian short grain rice e.g. Arborio
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table
- Trim any fat from the chicken thighs and cut into 1/2 – 3/4″ chunks
- Put the onion, celery, carrot and garlic into a food processor and mince.
- Pour the olive oil into a deep heavy skillet and heat over medium high, then add the vegetables and season with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the vegetables start to dry out a little, stirring often.
- Add the chicken, bay leaf and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir until the chicken starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Raise the heat and add the white wine and cook until the wine has almost evaporated, stirring often.
- Stir in the hot broth and then the rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the rice and chicken chunks are fully cooked, 15-25 minutes depending on your rice and heat. Always taste and make sure the rice is cooked!
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter, then the parsley and cheese.
- Serve with more grated cheese at the table.