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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Carlos’ spicy chicken cacciatore with rigatoni tossed with pan sauce & 2022 Santa Julia “El Burro” Malbec Natural.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Many I am sure have heard of chicken cacciatore (hunter style chicken), an Italian-inspired hearty and flavor-packed chicken dish.

Today, I’m giving it my own spin but adding some “heat” with red pepper flakes and fresh chili peppers.

This is a quick dish to make, perfect for weekday dinners or chilly/rainy nights.

Carlos’ Food and Wine is bringing back the ever-pleasing organic Santa Julia wine to the pairing. This Malbec is the perfect counterbalance to the spicy dish, adding fresh and jammy notes to the grape, promising a meal to remember.

Let’s get cooking!

Menu: Carlos' spicy chicken cacciatore with rigatoni tossed in pan sauce.

Wine pairing: 2022 Santa Julia "El Burro" Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)

Serves 2-4


  • 3 (1/2 pound each) chicken breasts

  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 cup red wine

  • 2 cups of tomato sauce (passata or blended San Marzano tomatoes)

  • 1 teaspoon Calabrian chili sauce

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon ground sage

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • Salt & pepper

  • Extra Virgin olive oil

  • Slightly roasted pine nuts (approx 4 tablespoons)

  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Grana padano and Pecorino cheeses

  • 1/2 a package of rigatoni



  • Season chicken breasts with sea salt, cracked pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, sage and some extra Virgin olive oil on both sides.

  • Heat up approximately 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron pan on medium heat. Carefully place the chicken breasts in and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

  • Add garlic, chili pepper and shallots to cast iron pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

  • Add mushroom and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add Calabrian peppers and cook for 2 minutes.

  • Add wine and reduce heat to low and cooking until almost evaporating. Add tomato sauce and stir. Place chicken breasts back to cast iron pan. Simmer on low heat for 7-10 minutes.

  • Remove pan from heat and freshly chopped parsley and gently stir.


  • Cook 1/2 package of rigatoni pasta according to directions. Drain and place pasta on a large deep bowl. Spoon with a few laddle-filled pan sauce into the pasta bowl. Stir pasta making sure pasta is coated.

  • Dust some of the grated cheese on the pasta and stir again.

Serve it up!

On each individual plate, place a piece of chicken breast in the middle and a generous portion of rigatoni next to it.

Spoon some extra sauce on top of the chicken, and garnish chicken with some roasted pine nuts. Dust off some extra cheese on top of the pasta.

Buon apetito! Enjoy!

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine...

2022 Santa Julia "El Burro" Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Santa Julia Malbec Natural is the first Organic and Natural wine from Bodega Santa Julia and reflects their mission to develop wines in an organic and sustainable way, coexisting with the environment instead of attacking it.

It represents the maximum expression of the variety and its sur- roundings.

Tasting notes: Fresh fruit and hints of plums and cherries.

Grapes: 100% Malbec (Organic)

Food pairing: Pairs with roasted and grilled meats like lamb, beef and chicken. Tomato sauce-based dishes.

Special thanks to my friends at Winesellers Ltd. for their wonderful contribution of this exceptional wine.

For more information, visit:


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