Ciao'd after scouring my email. You never know.

When my friend rang to tell me that a new Italian cookware line was emigrating to America, I had two thoughts: 1) Modern design, “meh” functionality and 2) Who needs another pasta pot?  Still, my curiosity – and loyalty to my homeland – got the best of me and I took a cook-see with Ballarini Como.

Como? What marketing genius conjured this name knowing that Lake Como could win gold in the lovely, picturesque, and scenic categories in the travel Olympics and - cause I know you are all going there - George Clooney hands-down sweeps the exquisite and charming awards.

Okay, here’s the deal. First, for you 4 PM Fixers out there (and who’s not?), it’s one thing to a have a ready pantry for preparing quick and #dolcevitadelish dinners, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to have cookware that makes cooking those dinners easier.

I have cooked quite a few meals in the Ballarini Como 10-inch fry pan. It’s forged aluminum (= monster performance), nonstick and dishwasher safe (yay!) and it browns food beautifully. It has a super-duper tech-y button on its handle that lets you know when the pan is hot enough to cook in it and cool enough to clean it. This tech is called THERMOPOINT. I like to throw that term around at parties.

The sides of the pan are higher than a traditional fry pan so I can sauté and braise, too. I am super into braising, especially during the cooler months – ONE POT COOKING PEOPLE! And number two: While this doesn’t have anything to do with the specs for the cookware, I love that Ballarini is family-owned and employs most of the people who live in their little town. I have to believe, like cooking, the love that goes into the crafting of these pans translates into the quality of the food we share with our loved ones.

So, yeah. If you want to try Ballarini, check it out here: zwillingonline.com. And then try this recipe for Secret Ingredient Skillet Chicken Thighs with Butternut Squash. 

[Please note: I was not paid for this post.]



Chicken thighs star in many simple chicken dishes like this one that not only includes earthy butternut squash but also a secret ingredient – mildy spicy peperoncini (peppers).  And since everything is cooked in one pan, cleanup is simplicity itself. P.S. You may be able to find peeled, cubed butternut squash in your produce section. 

Serves 4

4 large (or 8 small) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped jarred and drained peperoncini (peppers), or more to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)

Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt, pepper, and paprika.

In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook, turning once, until they’re well browned on both sides, 8 to 12 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

 Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, peperoncini, and sage and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the stock and wine and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Return the chicken thighs, skin-side up, to the pan.  Simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes. Stir in the squash, immersing it in the liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.