There is something about this simple pancetta chicken recipe with tomatoes that makes me want to open a bottle of wine. This straight forward chicken recipe has me wanting to relax and take my time enjoying dinner, so I can savor every bite. It is that good!
This vibrant and savory creation marries chicken, smoky pancetta or bacon, and the burst of sweetness from cherry tomatoes in a very uncomplicated way!
I am known as a recipe saver and this is one recipe I’ve been meaning to try for a long time.
After all, it is not often that a New York Times recipe with 4000 views receives 5 stars.
I had to make it and I am not regretting my decision.
This quick dinner, made on a sheet pan, comes together fast.
Perfect for a weeknight dinner or company, the flavors in this chicken dish really shine.
Manservant and I both agreed that this dish deserves accolades, so consider this fair warning to put this into your repertoire soon.
What gives this chicken with tomatoes recipe so much flavor is the burst of umami from the pancetta.
And if you don’t have pancetta, a high quality bacon works well, too.
Making pancetta is a more time-intensive process and pancetta does not have to be cooked to be eaten, whereas bacon does.
To use pancetta in this recipe buy a round of pancetta, not slices, and dice it up into cubes to use.
I didn’t have pancetta on hand so I used thick sliced bacon and diced it into cubes.
No one was the wiser.
Tomatoes make this a perfect summer dish but I used cherub tomatoes from Nature Sweet as they needed a home!
The tomatoes melt down and create a jammy tomato sauce which works well when flavored with the pancetta and other spices.
Make sure to serve this pancetta chicken recipe with crusty bread so you can soak up all the wonderful juice!
Ingredients For this Pancetta Chicken Recipe:
- Chicken Thighs and Chicken Breasts:
- The heart of this dish lies in the choice of chicken. You may use boneless, skinless,chicken thighs or chicken breasts. The dark meat from the thighs offers richness, while the white meat from the breasts ensures a tender bite. Just remember if you use chicken breasts to decrease the cooking time about 5-7 minutes.
- A fundamental aromatic, garlic adds depth and complexity to the dish. You knew that, right?
- Olive Oil:
- I always use extra-virgin olive oil that has been cold pressed. Find one whoose flavor you prefer. Some can be bitter and that’s not what I’m looking for though some love it!
- Lemon Juice:
- The acidity of lemon juice brightens up the flavors, adding a zesty kick that complements the richness of the chicken and pancetta.
- Paprika and Oregano:
- A duo of spices that brings warmth and depth to the dish. Paprika lends a smoky note, while oregano adds a touch of earthiness that ties everything together.
- Brown Sugar and Cumin:
- A hint of sweetness from brown sugar in case your tomatoes aren’t sweet enough and the warm, nutty notes of cumin create a nuanced flavor profile, balancing the savory and smoky elements. I’ll be honest. I am not a strong lover of cumin, but this recipe may have changed my mind. The cumin blends right in and gives the chicken a truly unique flavor.
- Cherry Tomatoes:
- Cherry tomatoes contribute a burst of sweetness and acidity. Their vibrant colors and juicy texture creates a simple sauce and the color adds so much to the dish.
- Pancetta (or Bacon):
- The star of the show, pancetta or bacon, adds a rich, smoky flavor that complements the chicken and tomatoes beautifully.
- Fresh Herbs – Dill and Parsley:
- Dill and parsley provide a burst of freshness but use your favorite fresh herb. Cilantro and basil work, too.
- A sprinkle of freshly ground pepper ties all the flavors together, enhancing the savory notes and adding a touch of heat. Red pepper flakes add extra heat if you prefer.
Instructions for this Pancetta Chicken Recipe:
1. Season and Sear the Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Season chicken thighs or breasts with salt and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Make Drizzle Mixture
- Smash garlic cloves and peel.
- In a measuring cup, grate one clove and add lemon juice, paprika, dried oregano, brown sugar, and ground cumin. Whisk to combine and pour over chicken.
3. Add Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic Cloves
- Toss in halved cherry tomatoes, and garlic cloves, spreading them around the chicken.
- Season them lightly with salt and a little more olive oil.
- Scatter diced pancetta or bacon on top.
4. Roast to Perfection:
- Roast until chicken is golden and cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes and less if you are using chicken breasts.
- After 15 minutes, stir the tomatoes and pancetta, but don’t disturb the chicken.
6. Garnish and Serve:
- Transfer chicken to plates. Stir the tomatoes and pancetta around in the pan, scraping up all the brown bits. Stir in the fresh herbs of choice and some black or red pepper.
- Check for salt and add an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice if needed for freshness. Spoon this tomato mixture over the chicken.
Side Dish Suggestions:
This chicken dish pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides.
Consider serving it over a bed of fluffy couscous, a mound of creamy mashed potatoes, or a nest of al dente pasta.
Rice works, as does mashed or rice cauliflower.
Serve with crusty bread for soaking up the sauce and a side salad if you’d like.
Zuchinni, asparagus or green beans would also work if you don’t have a salad lover in your house!
To make this short story even shorter, just make this simply elegant pancetta chicken recipe with tomatoes and you will taste what we did!
It makes the house smell aromatic and has everyone welcoming dinner.
Grab the bottle of wine and enjoy this cozy dinner.
I have no doubt you will be making it over and over again!
Need Some More?
This 5 star recipe from the New York Times deserves accolades. Made with just a few ingredients, this sheet pan chicken recipe should be on your table tonight!
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
9 whole garlic cloves, divided
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more for serving
1 Tbsp sweet or smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 pt cherry tomatoes (preferably different colors), halved (I like Nature’s Sweet cherub tomatoes.)
3 oz pancetta, diced
1/4 cup torn fresh dill, parsley, or other herbs, for serving
Freshly ground black pepper, or a pinch of red pepper flakes to taste.
- Heat the oven to 425°. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Smash all the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and peel them. Finely grate 1 garlic clove into a measuring cup. Whisk in the olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, oregano, brown sugar, and cumin. Drizzle the mixture over the chicken and toss to coat.
- Add the tomatoes and smashed garlic cloves to the baking sheet, spreading them out around the chicken. Season the tomatoes lightly with salt and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Scatter the pancetta on top.
- Roast until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir the tomatoes, garlic, and pancetta, but don’t disturb the chicken.
- Transfer the chicken to 4 plates.
- Stir the tomatoes and pancetta around in the pan, scraping up all the delicious browned bits from the bottom and sides, stir in the fresh herbs, and season with black pepper, salt, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Spoon the tomatoes, garlic, and pancetta over the chicken to serve.
Thanks Melissa Clark!
Keywords: pancetta chicken recipe, chicken with pancetta, pancetta chicken, sheet pan chicken recipe with jammy tomatoes