“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

For dinner tonight: Rosemary lemon roasted chicken with potatoes and zucchini and chickpea fritters


Buongiorno! Tonight for dinner we will be serving: Rosemary lemon roasted chicken with potatoes and zucchini with a lovely side of chickpea fritters.  Hungry yet?

Il Secondo (second course, main course)

For me, a classic Italian comfort food would be rosemary lemon roasted chicken with potatoes and zucchini. It’s a classic “meat and potatoes” dish. Some people have steak and mashed potatoes, well; this is my steak and mashed potatoes. If the chicken is cooked just right, it will be moist and tender; you should be able to use a fork to get the chicken off the bone, no need for a knife. Your kitchen will be filled with the fresh fragrance of lemon and rosemary, a favorite combination of mine. Made with roasted potatoes and zucchini, this is my idea of a perfect meal to enjoy after a long, hard day. I wish I could prepare this dish with the beautiful lemons they had in Ischia, but until I get back over there, regular lemons will just have to do.

Rosemary lemon roasted chicken with potatoes and zucchini


1 whole chicken, cut up (or any pieces you like if you prefer)
½ cup salt
2-3 whole lemons
Whole head of garlic, peeled and the cloves slightly crushed
Crushed red pepper
Salt+Pepper
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
2 zucchini
2 potatoes

First, rinse your chicken thoroughly and cover it with cold water and the half cup of salt. Stir to make sure the salt is dissolved and let the chicken soak for half an hour. Drain. Squeeze the juice of the lemons over the chicken, add the garlic, the crushed red pepper, salt +pepper, rosemary and thyme (the spices and herbs to taste, remember, quanto basta.) Let it marinate for up to half an hour. Place in a baking pan in a pre-heated 350 degree over, skin side down. Meanwhile, slice your zucchini into approximately half inch slices and your potato into 1-1½ inch cubes; you can keep the skin on.

After the chicken has cooked for about a half an hour, turn to skin side up, add the potatoes and zucchini and mix gently. Cook for another half hour to forty-five minutes and check that your chicken is thoroughly cooked. (You can turn the heat up to 400-450 degrees if you would like to brown the chicken and vegetables slightly.) Serve and spoon some of the sauce from the baking pan over the chicken.

Il contorno (Side dishes)

I love Italian fritters, sweet or savory. I’ll take it either way. The Sicilian specialty panelle are one of the most well recognized street foods of Palermo, often eaten on a toasted roll as a sandwich. They are made using chickpea flour, farinata di ceci, The panelle are traditionally round, flat fritters. The Sicilian proverb” pari na paniella”, you look similar to a panella, referred to an object that had the misfortune to be flattened by excessive weight. They are light and delicate, crunchy on the outside and slightly soft in the middle.

Chickpea fritters: Panelle



1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water
1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus more garnishing
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the pan
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 eggs
In a medium size saucepan, dissolve the chickpea flour in 2 cups of water. Stir in chopped parsley, salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 sliced garlic clove and 2 eggs. Put the saucepan over medium heat and continue mixing until they form a thick paste. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
Fill a deep pot with extra-virgin olive oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Using your hands, shape the chickpea flour dough into flat little fritters. Fry the fritters until golden brown, around seven minutes each side. Remove the finished fritters to a serving plate. Let cool before serving.

Might I suggest a glass of prosecco and some Verdi playing in the backround? Boun Appetito!