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Tuscan Recipes: Roast Chicken with Vin Santo

By: Steve Keenan Journalist | Specialist in rural tourism

Giulia Scarpaleggia

Giulia Scarpaleggia - Food writer and photographer

“I am born and bred in Tuscany and live in my family house in the countryside between Siena and Florence with my partner, Tommaso, and my huge white sheep dog, Noa. I teach Tuscan cooking classes and share traditional Italian recipes on Juls’ Kitchen, my blog, and in my cookbooks.

“This is how I would imagine a woman living in the Tuscan countryside would have loved her farmyard chicken to be roasted on a foggy Sunday morning. No butter smeared on the chicken, no fussy stuffing, just a good chicken, some salt and pepper, olive oil and Vin Santo. She could find everything in her pantry or in her yard.” Vin Santo (holy wine) is a classic, sweet Tuscan dessert wine, a family favourite and often home-made.

Roast Chicken with Vin Santo


  • One whole chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 120ml of Vin Santo or Marsala


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). 
  2. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, then rub it with the olive oil and two tablespoons of the wine.
  3. Place it breast side down in a baking dish and pour over about 60 ml of the wine. 
  4. Roast for 45 minutes, then turn the chicken breast side up, pour in the remaining wine and roast for another 30–45 minutes until the chicken turns golden brown. 
  5. Allow it to rest wrapped in aluminium foil for at least 30 minutes, then serve with the sauce poured over. 

Giulia recommends cooking up a rice salad with leftover chicken for a proper Tuscan lunch. Stir-fry the chicken with rice and almonds and add a squeeze of lemon juice to finish. If you want to make your chicken go even further, Giulia suggests a home-made broth. In a large warm pot, place the chicken bones with carrots, celery, onion, a bay leaf and a bunch of parsley with warm water. Simply boil slowly for three hours, cool, freeze and use it when you need.

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