Chicken alla diavola

Originally a Roman recipe but every region has a variation of this succulent dish. In the Roman version, which is what I use, the chicken is crushed by a weight against the frying pan for it to better adhere and create its crunchy crust.

prep time 10 min + 30 min marinating    cook time 50-60 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 kg chicken, whole
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed or powdered peperoncino
  • optional: rosemary/oregano/garlic

1. To cook chicken alla diavola, start by cutting your chicken from top to bottom along the spine. You can also cut it along the chest, but the important thing is that you can then crush it and make it stick well to the frying pan.

2. Flatten the chicken on a work surface and wet the meat with two tablespoons of olive oil to which you have previously added the peperoncino. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let marinate about 30 min, so that it can absorb the flavors well. You can also add herbs and aromas to further flavor the meat, but do not overdo it – you don’t want to obscure its flavor.

3. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and place the chicken with the split part down. Cover the chicken with a flat plate, I used a round tray, and a weight to keep it pressed while cooking. I used a pot full of water. Keep the chicken in this position and let it cook for 25 minutes over low to medium heat, allowing it to brown without burning the skin. After 25 min turn the chicken and let it cook for another 25-30 min. There is another school of thought which asks you to keep turning the chicken every 5 minutes. I belong to the turn-one-time-only category 🙂

4. Serve the chicken well browned, hot and crunchy!


Fusilli with radicchio, gorgonzola and walnuts

This is one of those recipes that you either love or hate due to the strong flavours of radicchio, the Italian red chicory, and gorgonzola cheese which divide opinions quite radically. This pasta is a blend of bitter radicchio, salty gorgonzola and crunchy walnuts. If you find radicchio too bitter for your taste, you can replace it with red cabbage. Not the same thing, but in your kitchen you can be as creative as you like.

prep time 10 min     cook time 10 min
ingredients for 4
  • 360g pasta, I used fusilli
  • small onion, chopped
  • 150g radicchio, a small head
  • 150g gorgonzola
  • 30g walnuts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh thyme to garnish

1. Wash and dry the radicchio and cut into strips. Cut the cheese into cubes. Cut or crush the walnuts with a knife.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion. Cook for a few minutes until translucent and add the radicchio strips. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Remember that gorgonzola is salty.

3. In the meantime cook the pasta according the instructions on the package.

4. Add the gorgonzola to the pan and also a few tablespoons of the cooking water to help the cheese melt.

5. Drain the pasta and pour into the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Top with the crumbled walnuts and some fresh thyme.


Roasted winter vegetables

This is a mixture of comforting winter veggies that can be served on its own, as a side dish or as a component of a frittata or pasta. Add chickpeas and it becomes a whole dish.

prep time 30 min     cook time 35 min
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 1-2 red onions
  • 1 radicchio (red chicory) head
  • 350g big button mushrooms
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • salt and pepper
  • rosemary and marjoram (or other herbs)
  • extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 190 C and line a baking sheet or a roasting pan with parchment paper.

2. Cut the fennels into slices, the carrots into rounds and quarter the mushrooms. Wash, dry and cut the the radicchio into strips and slice the onions.

3. Toss the veggies in a large salad bow, add salt and pepper and spread the vegetables in an even layer on the baking sheet.

4. Rinse the chickpeas and scatter them on top of the veggie mix. Add a lug of olive oil and sprinkle the herbs on top.

5. Bake about 30 minutes.


Zucchini pie

To make savoury pies you can use puff pastry or traditional pie dough, either home made or store bought. Today I paired zucchini with speck, but you can use a plethora of ingredients.

prep time 10 min     cook time 35-45 min
  • 350g puff pastry
  • 500g zucchini, sliced or rounds
  • 100g speck (pancetta or bacon is fine), diced or in strips
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 ml milk (or heavy cream)
  • 30 grated Parmigiano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 C.

2.  Cook the zucchini in a pan with the oil for 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the speck.

3. Mix the eggs vigorously, add the milk and cheese and a dash of salt and pepper.

4. Roll out the puff pastry into a baking dish, previously covered with parchment paper, prick it with the prongs of a fork and add the zucchini filling.

5. Pour the egg mix on top and place in the oven until golden.

6. Check the time on your oven. Mine always requires more time than the recipes suggest.

Tip: you can replace the egg and milk mixture with 250g of ricotta.