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Chicken Puttanesca

December 22, 2009
The Journal

By Wendy Monro

Mothers are amazing, influential, compassionate and nurturing.

At least, this has been my experience with my mother.

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Submitted photo

This is a photo of Chicken Puttanesca made by Wendy Monro.

I think most moms don't even realize which words they speak are making an impact or what action they take that the child is likely to rememberin therapy (just kidding).

My mom was only seventeen when I was born. So, often, I joke with her and say we will be in a nursing home together when we get old. In spite of our closeness in age, she has always been and will always be my mentor.

I look to her for advice and support all of the time. We talk on the phone at least once a day.

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Chicken Puttanesca

Serves: 6 with leftovers (it's even better the next day) Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes

One whole chicken, deboned

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

4 medium sweet red peppers, chopped

10-12 cloves of garlic, sliced in half

2 C. dry red wine (or white)

3 C. chicken broth

3 C. stewed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. salt

1/2 Tbsp. pepper

1/2 Tbsp. chili flakes

1 C. kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half

1/2 C. capers, liquid drained

1 lb. angel hair pasta

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken. Brown chicken on both sides (about five minutes each side). Remove chicken from pot. Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Brown these until the onions are translucent and everything is getting a little brown (about ten minutes). Add the red wine and scrape all of the brown remnants from the bottom of the pan. Mix this all together. Add the broth and stewed tomatoes. Add the chicken. Allow this to simmer for about thirty five minutes. Add salt and pepper and chili flakes to taste. Cook the angel hair pasta according to directions on package. While the pasta cooks, add the olives and capers. Drain the pasta and add it to the chicken and sauce. Enjoy.

This year Claud and I have dealt with a bit of a financial crisis.

My mom and her husband, Doug have been our beacon of hope, helping us all of the time.

Have you seen that Hallmark commercial where the grown up daughter walks around on Christmas evening trying to give her mom the card that will somehow reveal her gratitude?

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Finally, she gets a moment to hand her mother the card and the card reads, "We couldn't have survived the year without you."

Well, that is me this year. I'm that daughter. They made that commercial based on my life. Not really. However, it could have been written about me and my mom.

She has made me think a lot about being a mother and how it never ends. I'm about to turn thirty nine and she is still helping and worrying about me. Being a mother is a lifelong commitment. I laughed this week when I read an article in Newsweek Magazine where Eleanor Roosevelt cried the day Franklin D. Roosevelt's mom gave them a house as a wedding gift.

The kicker was that the house was actually a duplex; and guess who lived next door?

Franklin's mother had at least three adjoining doors. She might enter into the living room, the dining room or a bedroom whenever she pleased. I totally get this. I often joke with my own kids telling them that we will be building on to this house so they never have to move out. I tell them there will be plenty of room for their new spouse and my grandchildren right here under this very roof. They roll their eyes.

My mom doesn't want to live with us but she is always here in our hearts.

This Christmas, I don't have much to give. I should try to find that Hallmark card. I might be able to afford that.

I want to make certain that the people I love know how grateful I am to have them in my life.

My friend Jim Wendroth lost his mother to cancer this year and wrote to me reminding me to not let time go by without spending it with the people I love.

I have been so blessed to have had three visits from my parents this year. They have to fly all of the way from California, so this is no small feat. I am tremendously grateful.

Whenever my mom arrives, we spent most of our time in the kitchen: cooking, eating, laughing, and drinking wine.

We always have so much fun together. Sometimes we will laugh until tears roll down our cheeks and her husband and mine will just look at us like we are crazy.

We are the only ones who get the joke.

My mom is an incredible cook. I would never have grown to appreciate food the way I do if it wasn't for all of the remarkable meals she cooked for me over the years.

Okay, I could have done without borscht or fish soup as a child, but most of the other food was fantastic.

My mom makes some incredible Italian dishes.

That's why I have to refer to her as "Mama Mia" when she cooks Italian food.

One of her amazing Italian inspired dishes is Chicken Puttanesca.

Her recipe combines chicken, tons of garlic, chili flakes, kalamata olives, capers, wine and more. She uses red wine which makes sense because she and I love red wine.

The traditional recipe for Puttanesca usually calls for a dry white wine.

I have only had it with red and it tastes delicious. It is better to use red so you can finish the rest of the bottle after you cook with most of it. That's what I did yesterday when I made Chicken Puttanesca and Mama Mia was it good.

Thank you, mom and Merry Christmas.

Happy holidays to everyone. I hope you are filled with love and fantastic food this holiday season.

Watch my video showing how I made this recipe on my blog:



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