It was a year ago that we were getting ready for our first trek to Italy. 15 glorious days in Rome, Florence, and Venice. 15 days of the most fabulous food, sights, and people. And the purchase of hand-made-and-hand-painted-just-for-us dinnerware. It’s rainy and gloomy outside, so it was the perfect excuse to break out the Italian dishes.

Not that we need an excuse, mind you… We have a lot of different china and dinnerware and we use it all all of the time, but there really is something special about this stuff. It perks me up right away every time I look at it.

I decided I needed something vaguely Italian to go into it, tonight, so I went with a clean-out-the-refrigerator Chicken Cacciatore.  Day Five of fresh produce is starting to push a few things. Time to make use of it. And a dish like cacciatore can handle any number of additions.

I started with onions, garlic, and two bone-in chicken breasts. When the chicken was browned and the onions wilted, I added about a cup of red wine to start things off. Then, sliced bell pepper, green beans, a sliced fennel bulb, and about 6 tomatoes I sliced up. And then about a cup of chicken broth.

I let it all simmer and stew for about an hour. I added some S&P, Greek oregano, basil, and a pinch of marjoram, and let it continue to simmer…  I pulled the chicken out and let it cool so I could easily get it off the bone.

Cooked pasta in the bowl and chunked chicken on top. Sauce on top of that, and grated cheese on top of that.

It may be raining outside, but it’s a sunny day in Florence, in here.