Literally, this recipe translate as “chicken with a brick”, so called because the chicken is flattened down with a brick during grilling. This not only reduces cooking time, but also keeps the chicken tender and moist.
A mattone is a special device made in terra cotta for cooking a chicken on the stovetop, withouting having to use a brick or a grill.
The recipe is quite straightforward: the chickens are spatchcocked (butterflied), and then cooked in the mattone.
a chicken, the best free range quality you can find/afford, butterflied
1 dessertspoon olive oil
coarse sea salt
freshly milled black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
1 lemon (optional)
Ask your butcher to prepare the chicken for you, or have a look at this video if you want to give it a try.
Lightly oil the bottom part of the mattone and place it over a gas burner, using a flame tamer. Place the top part also over a burner, again with a flame tamer. Make sure both parts get very hot (allow 15 minutes).
Sprinkle a large pinch of salt over the bottom part of the mattone. Rub the chicken with some salt, pepper and the rosemary leaves and place it on the bottom part of the terra cotta pot. Cover with the top part and let cook for about 40 minutes, turning the chicken over every 10 minutes.
Serve with some extra olive oil drizzled over the chicken, and a lemon wedge.
Often a picture says much more than a long text. This video proves the point: just looking at it is enough to reproduce this easy dish in your own kitchen. As always, make sure that you get the best ingredients (good bread and tasty tomatoes are the hardest bit) and do roast the bread in the grillpan (only the barbeque will give a better result).
This is one of those recipes that proves that it can be easy to put a fantastic dish on the table with minimum effort. Key to the success is, as often, the quality of the ingredients, in this case fresh porcini mushrooms, and home made egg pasta. If you do not want to make your own pasta then buy the best quality you can find – either fresh of dried. Make sure to buy a ribbon shaped pasta, like fettuccine, tagliatelle or even pappardelle.
This dish does not need a sprinkling of cheese.
300 g fettuccine or other ribbon shaped pasta
300 g porcini mushrooms, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
sprig of rosemary
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 glass of dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
peperoncini (chili pepper flakes)
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the mushrooms, the garlic, the rosemary, the peperoncini and the salt. Fry for 5 minutes, then add the white wine. Let simmer for another 5 minutes so that the wine can evaporate. In the mean time cook the pasta al dente, drain and add to the frying pan. Toss to mix thoroughly, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve at once.
This pasta recipe is considered a classic, although it is fairly recent. Artusi does not mention it, and the first written referral dates from 1961. From then on, the recipe spreads quite quickly.
Puttana literally means whore, and so people have come up with interesting theories about the origin of the name: preparing the dish to lure in customers with the smell; the dish can be assembled quickly, between two clients, and so on. But just maybe, the name simply comes from another Italian word, puttanata, which translates as rubbish.
It certainly is a quick and easy recipe, with the added bonus that it can be made without any fresh ingredients.
400g dried spaghetti
2 cloves of garlic,
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tomatoes, diced, or a 400g can peeled tomatoes, with their juice
50g anchovy fillets, without the oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
100g black olives
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the garlic and the anchovies and fry gently till the anchovies have ‘melted’. Don’t let the garlic turn brown. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add the other ingredients (capers, oregano and olives) and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
In the mean time, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain, and mix with the sauce. Serve immediately.
Whether spinach is as healthy as people told me when I was a child – I don’t know, but it surely has become a favourite. The Italian way with spinach is quite simple. The biggest job is properly cleaning and rinsing the spinach. Do use fresh spinach for this dish.
1 kilo fresh spinach, cleaned and rinsed with cold water
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
Heat a big pot over medium heat. Throw in the spinach with the water that clings to it. Cover the pot and steam till the spinach has wilted. Drain in a colander. Heat the olive oil in the pot, add the garlic cloves and let infuse for a few minutes (don’t let the garlic get brown). In the mean time you can chop the spinach coarsely if the leaves are too big. Then add to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and stir. Serve at once.
Try this alternative: add 2 anchovies fillets to the oil with the garlic, and let them melt completely. Do not add any salt. Serve on crostini or bruscbette.
Italians like to add some fresh lemon juice at the table, which is very nice indeed. Try it.
Cucinone is all about Italian food. We are passionate about authentic Italian food, good ingredients and perfect preparation. And most of all, the joy of cooking and sharing the food with family and friends.