Growing up, Chicken & Mostaccioli, as we called it, was one of our family’s favorite Sunday dinners. It is a simple and luscious dish of chicken and onions braised in butter and served over pasta. I grew up thinking that it was a unique dish from the Cipolla (paternal) side of the family since Cipolla translates to onion in Italian. I have never seen this recipe in any cookbook except in our family. It is also a unique recipe because it does not use garlic or other traditional Italian seasonings. This dish is about simplicity – butter, onions, salt and pepper. It is the quintessential Italian comfort food! As I learned later in life, this recipe comes from my maternal side, and probably originated from my Mother’s brother’s wife, Aunt Mary and her Italian family. My cousin Bobby remembers his Mom making it the same way as my Mom.
The key to making Chicken & Mostaccioli is to use the best ingredients possible. My version uses the best organic, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs you can find. I get mine online, from D’Artagnan, a premium meat provider who sources some of the best, natural products for restaurants and home cooks! Look for their sales and free shipping deals. Click here to see their latest sales.
Cipolla Family Chicken & Onion Mostaccioli
- 10 organic bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 medium sweet onions thinly sliced
- 1 stick salted butter
- salt pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced (optional)
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups water
- ½ cup grated fresh parmesan
- 1 lb. mostaccioli cooked a la dente
- Melt ½ stick of butter in a large skillet on the stove. Place chicken thighs skin-side down and cook over medium high heat until the skin is crisp.
- Remove the chicken. Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the sliced onions, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up, and cook over medium heat until the chicken juices run clear.
- Add 1/2 cup water and let cook for about 5-7 minutes to reduce the liquid. Be sure not to cover the crispy skin with water/sauce. The skin should remain above water, and the liquid should braise the meat.
- Add one more ½ cup of water, cover and cook for 5 - 7 minutes.
- Add parsley (optional) and more water if needed, cover and cook another 20 minutes until chicken is done. Note that the liquid content will vary depending on how much water is in the onions. The sauce should start to thicken as it reduces. Slowing adding a little water a time keeps it from getting dry, and produces enough sauce for the pasta.
- Remove chicken thighs to a platter.
- Add the mostaccioli to the skillet with the butter/onion sauce and toss well to coat. Mix in the parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately