Posted by: lornasass | January 6, 2010


The rich and hearty taste of this dish belies the ease of preparation. Part of the secret is enhancing good-quality storebought tomato sauce with fresh green bell pepper and mushrooms. The rest of the secret is hidden under the lid of the pressure cooker.

I often serve the cacciatore with parmesan mashed potatoes, but rice or polenta are also good choices.



1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups chopped onions or leeks

1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

½ cup red wine

10 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced or quartered

3 pounds bone-in skinned chicken breast halves, thighs, or a combination

2 cups good-quality tomato sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

One can (6 ounces) pitted  black olives, drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or basil, plus more for garnish (optional)

1/8 to ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese, plus more to pass at the table

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a 4-quart or larger cooker. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the onions soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and boil until about half evaporates. Scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the cooker.

Stir in the mushrooms. Set the chicken on top. Cover the chicken with tomato sauce. Do not stir. Plop the tomato paste on top.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 8 minutes. Turn off the heat. Allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape.

Stir in the olives, parsley, red pepper flakes (if using), cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Let the cacciatore rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

To serve, lightly dust each portion with cheese and sprinkle with parsley. Pass extra cheese in a bowl.


Cook-Along Potatoes (6-quart or larger cooker): Arrange 2 to 3 pounds medium potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and quartered, on top of the tomato sauce.

Instead of adding ripe black olives at the end, cook cacciatore with one or more varieties of Mediterranean olive, such as Cerignola, niçoise, or picholines.

Stir in a bunch of chopped arugula along with olives.

Vary flavor by using tomato sauce with sausage or roasted garlic.

Transformations (Follow basic recipe except as noted)

Pasta and Chicken Cacciatore (6-quart or larger cooker): After adding mushrooms, stir in 1½ cups chicken broth and 12 ounces short pasta (preferably a variety with crevices, such as spirals or campanelle) that normally cooks within 9 to 12 minutes. Instead of bone-in chicken, use 2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks. Cook under pressure for 5 minutes, then quick-release. Stir well as you add remaining ingredients. Separate any pasta that is stuck together, and release any that is clinging to bottom of cooker. If pasta is not uniformly cooked, cover and steam in residual heat during resting period.

Turkey Cacciatore: Substitute skinned, boneless turkey thighs, 7 to 10 ounces each. Timing remains the same.


For electric and high-BTU stoves, set a heat diffuser under cooker before bringing up to pressure.

The ½ cup wine, supplemented by ample liquid given off by onions, mushrooms, and chicken, is sufficient to bring up the pressure and create plenty of sauce.

Adapted from PRESSURE PERFECT, copyright Lorna Sass, 2009



  1. I love your book Pressure Perfect; it is my one and only source for PC recipes. I just recently made the chicken caccitore recipe and it was divine! Since my family is not a big fan of olives I substitued capers. We also have “curry in a hurry” and “classic beef stew” on a regular basis. Was wondering if you have a version of chicken scarpariello for the PC? It seems this dish would be well suited for pressure cooking.

    • TX for your kind words. I don’t have a pc recipe for chicken scarpariello but will definitely look into it!

  2. I just made this recipe with the pasta variation for dinner last night for my first pressure cooker meal ever. It was excellent and so quick! I used whole wheat pasta and it worked perfectly! Thanks for sharing! I’ve ordered your book already and can’t wait to try more.

    • Thanks for letting me know. A new convert. Hoorah!

  3. I have a very battered copy of Cooking Under Pressure which has been a favorite for the last 15 years. I didn’t realize you had additional books or a blog. Hurray for finding your blog, and I can’t to read through and find some new ideas and recipes!

    • Glad you found me and welcome aboard. Glad you’ve gotten such good use out of CUP. There is a 20th Anniversary edition now revised and available. You might also enjoy PRESSURE PERFECT. Take care and happy cooking! Lorna

  4. I made this for dinner tonight, using 2 cups of Rao’s Arrabiata sauce for the tomato sauce. My husband said “I’ve had chicken cacciatore before, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as this!” This is a delicious version, one that I’ll add into my rotation. Thanks Lorna!

    • TX for letting me know this very good news!

  5. […] a frozen banana cream pie. Ouch. This is the stuff that puts you in the bad mom hall of despair. Chicken Cacciatore with pasta was bumped to Friday night. Another winner in the pressure cooker. A comfortable ending to a crazed […]

    • Thrilled you’ve discovered the other “pc” and are spreading the word.

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