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.
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.
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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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.