Remove the skin from the chicken thighs. Rinse the chicken thighs and pat dry.
Smash, peel, and chop the garlic cloves. Peel and chop the onion. Wash the celery and green pepper. Cut the green pepper in half, remove the seeds, and cut into bite-sized chunks. Cut the celery on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil on medium-high in a deep-sided frying pan. Add the chicken thighs and cook until browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate.
Clean out the frying pan. Heat the remaining olive oil. Add the garlic and onion. Cook over medium heat until the onion is tender. Add the celery and bell pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes, cayenne pepper, thyme, dried parsley, bay leaf if using, and salt and pepper.
Return the chicken to the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
While the chicken is simmering, prepare the risotto. When the chicken is done, remove the bay leaf. Serve over the risotto.
This recipe is designed to provide lots of sauce to mix in with the risotto.