'Diet Code' Recipe: Pollo Alla Cacciatore

If you're a fan of Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code," and you want to lose weight, then you may be interested in "The Diet Code" by Stephen Lanzalotta.

Just as Brown's book discusses Da Vinci's Golden Ratio, Lanzalotta's does too -- and tells you how it can help you shed pounds. Lanzalotta, a baker who lives in Portland, Maine, applies mathematical principles to his cafe menu and shows you how to apply it to your daily eating for optimal health.


This "hunter's style" dish, slow-cooked or "choked" (soffocato) to tenderness, is a one-pot meal well accompanied by hot couscous or fresh Polenta. This preparation is an age-old way to prepare game such as rabbit or pigeon (thus the name "hunter's style"), but modern tastes may prefer it adapted for sausage, lamb, short ribs of beef, or the familiar chicken.

Preheat oven and grill pan to 550 degrees.

Toss together:

3 bell peppers, cored and cut into large chunks (eighths)

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Roast (arrosto) 9 minutes to 10 minutes until blistered and spotted with black; set aside and turn off oven.

In stockpot, lightly brown over medium-high heat:

2 pounds mixed chicken parts

2 fresh or 6 dried bay leaves

2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped

Add and sauté (saltere) until golden:

2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks


½ cup white wine

Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and stew for 30 minutes, adding up to ½ cup water as necessary to retain liquid.


28 ounce container crushed tomatoes

2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

8 to 12 sage leaves, torn

4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths

Stew over medium-low heat for one hour with cover slightly ajar. (Optional: Add 2 stalks of celery cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths after 40 minutes.)

Remove from heat and add peppers.

Let stand 15 minutes to 20 minutes before serving.

Garnish with:

Grated Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese