Secrets of a Tuscan Kitchen

POLLO ARROSTO AL VIN SANTO –  (Roasted chicken with Vin Santo Sauce)

Vin Santo is a Tuscan dessert wine made from dried grapes.  Marsala makes a good substitute or use a good dry white wine if your local wine provider doesn’t stock it.

Erbe Aromatiche Al Sale is a fundamental seasoning for Tuscan cooks, made by blending aromatic herbs with salt. This handy blend usually sits by most Tuscan stoves ready to be sprinkled over a roast or grilled vegetables or to season a sauce.  Each cook has his or her own combination of flavours: rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage are some favourites. Mince a handful of fresh herbs with a teaspoon of salt. The salt adds flavour drawing out the essential oils back into the mixture. The salt also preserves the herbs, drying them and concentrating the flavours. (keeps for several days)


1 chicken

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tblsp Erbe Aromatiche  (see recipe above)

2 cups Vin Santo or substitute



Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Lightly oil a small roasting pan or heatproof casserole dish.

In a small bowl, combine the herb mixture with the garlic.

Loosen the skin of the breast of the chicken and spread the herb mixture under the skin. Rub the chicken all over with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on its side in the prepared pan and roast for 15 mins, then turn and roast the 2nd side for 15 mins.

Turn the chicken onto its back and roast for 30 mins or until the chicken is cooked.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm.

Set the roasting pan over medium heat and add the wine, stirring with a wooden spoon. Increase the heat to high and cook to reduce the liquid by half.

Add any juices from the resting chicken.

Drizzle the pan sauce over the roasted chicken and serve.

Serve with seasonal roasted vegetables or salad to suit the occasion.

Adjust cooking time according to the size of the chicken.

Tip: Chicken is cooked when the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a knife.

Now you may well have some Vin Santo left over, so what could be better than putting it to good use to finish off a delicious Tuscan meal with another delightful Tuscan treat.  Simply pour a small glass of Vin Santo and dip the biscotti in. The rule of thumb here is to dip and count to 5 for the best note.


By the way... if you just happen to be in Florence, perhaps, on the Elegant Italy and France at Leisure tour in September, we ought to let you know that on the city centre side bank of the Arno river just 100m left from the Ponte Vecchio lies a very well stocked bottle and gift shop, perfect for a bottle of Vin Santo and biscotti for yourself or a gift.