Food & Drink

Chicken a twist on Italian dish

Pollo Tonnato, or chicken in tuna sauce.
Pollo Tonnato, or chicken in tuna sauce. Tribune News Service

This is an easy, scaled-down version of the traditional Italian recipe, Vitello Tonnato (Veal in Tuna Sauce), using sauteed chicken instead of veal.

It is a perfect dish to serve hot or cold.

The accompanying mayonnaise sauce has tangy flavors of capers, anchovies and tuna. The original recipe calls for fresh mayonnaise, which takes time and must be made in advance. This shortcut uses bottled mayonnaise and yogurt. The sauce is so quick and easy you can double the recipe and use the leftovers the next day over pasta or rice.

The chicken and sauce are served on a bed of red peppers and beans, making this a quick one-dish dinner.

Warm a loaf of Italian bread and toss a green salad to complete the meal.

Helpful Hints

▪  Great northern or navy beans can be used instead of cannellini beans.

▪  Any type of bread can be used.


▪  Preheat oven to 300 degrees to warm bread.

▪  Saute chicken, peppers and beans.

▪  While chicken cooks, make tuna sauce.

This rich dish would go nicely with a rich, dry, white semillon, or, for contrast a crisp, red Chianti.

Shopping List

To buy: 2 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 red bell pepper, 1 can cannellini beans, 1 loaf Italian bread, 1 tin anchovy fillets, 1 can water-packed white meat tuna, 1 carton non-fat plain yogurt, 1 bottle capers and 1 container pitted black olives.

Staples: Olive oil, garlic, reduced fat mayonnaise salt and black peppercorns.


(Chicken In Tuna Sauce)

Makes 2 servings.


3 teaspoons olive oil, divided use

2 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper

1 cup rinsed and drained cannellini beans

2 crushed garlic cloves

1/4 loaf whole wheat Italian bread

2 anchovy fillets

1/4 cup water-packed white meat tuna, drained

1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise

1/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon capers, drained

4 pitted black olives, cut in half


Preheat oven to 300 degrees for the bread. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and brown 2 minutes, turn and brown other side 2 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. A meat thermometer should read 165 when the chicken is cooked.

Lower heat to medium, push the chicken to one side and add the 2 remaining teaspoons olive oil. Add the red pepper, beans and garlic. Saute 5 minutes tossing beans and peppers together.

Place bread in oven to warm.

While chicken cooks, rinse anchovy fillets and place in the bowl of a food processor with the tuna, mayonnaise and yogurt. Process until smooth. Add a little water if it is too thick.

To serve, spoon the beans and red pepper onto 2 dinner plates. Place the chicken on top. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle the capers and olives on top. Serve with the bread.