- 1 (5 to 6-pound) stewing hen, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Essence or Creole Seasoning
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced pancetta
- 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 ounces sliced and stemmed button mushrooms
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, with juices
- 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
- Season the chicken lightly with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Essence and 1 teaspoon of the salt.
- In a shallow bowl, season the flour with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Essence.
- In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned, stirring frequently, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-lined plate to drain and set aside. Working 1 at a time, dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking to remove any excess. (Reserve the remaining flour.) Add the chicken to the hot oil in the pan in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- To the fat remaining in the pan, add the onions, salt, and red pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaf, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft and have given up their liquid, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved seasoned flour, stir to combine, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the white wine, increase the heat, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the chicken stock and return to a boil. Carefully add the browned chicken back to the pan, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the chicken pieces to a large serving bowl and cover to keep warm. Continue to cook the sauce, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent from sticking, until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes.
- To serve, mound the pasta in a large pasta bowl and toss with some of the sauce. Arrange the chicken pieces around the pasta and top with any remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the reserved pancetta, 1/4 cup of the cheese, if using, and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately, passing the additional 1/4 cup cheese tableside.