The thing I love about my heritage of Italian home cooking is its simplicity. In Naples, a family treat was a free-range chicken, strangled at source, plucked and cut into pieces, legs, breast, wings.

The carcass was kept for making soup the next day. Tucked into a heavy pot, seasoned well, flavoured with garlic and herbs, and moistened with olive oil and wine it was simply roasted in a hot oven and eaten, skin and all.

If all this is too much fuss, buy a pack of free-range chicken Supremes and one of chicken legs with the skin on. Yellow fleshed corn-fed chicken is even tastier. Buy the best quality chicken you can find.

This is the hardest part of the recipe. The rest is easy peasy and the results are delicious. Just like Nonna used to make.



Free-range chicken, corn fed if possible, cut into 8 even-sized pieces or equivalent pre-cut pieces

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin

olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

2 cloves garlic, squashed

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

Half lemon cut into eighths

2 tablespoons pitted black olives

2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

40g unsalted butter

Small glass dry white wine,



Pre-heat oven 190C/Gas 5

Remove the chicken from the fridge at least half an hour before cooking.

Choose a heavy roasting tin, big enough to hold the chicken pieces in one layer.

Lay the chicken in the roasting tin and drizzle over the extra virgin olive oil.

Season it well and use your hands to rub everything over the chicken to coat it well with the oil.

Scatter over the sliced pepper.

Add the garlic cloves, the black olives, lemon pieces and the rosemary sprigs.

Dot the butter in pieces over the chicken skin.

Add half of the white wine.

Place the roasting tin in the middle of the hot oven and roast for half an hour.

Turn the chicken and pour over the remaining wine.

Replace the roasting tin on the highest part of the oven and complete the cooking for a further 20-25 minutes until the skin is well browned and crisp.

Transfer the chicken, peppers and olives to a warm plate and cover.

Remove the rosemary.

Squash the garlic cloves so that the soft roasted garlic oozes out. Remove the skins.

Tilt the roasting tin and spoon off any excess fat.

Return the tin to a high heat, adding 2 or 3 tablespoons water if needed.

Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any cooking residue and reduce the liquid to make a rich sauce. Check seasoning.

Serve the chicken simply with a fresh green salad.