Pollo al Forno

Italian Roast Chicken

The flavor of a chicken roasted in this way varies according to the herbs you want to add to the mixture. You can make it more or less pungent as you prefer, or according to what you serve alongside it. I always serve crisp, roasted potatoes with olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Superb either hot or cold, this has to be one of the most delicious ways to cook chicken joints to make a tasty, melting, juicy dish. If possible, use free-range chicken joints.


  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves or sage leaves, or fresh marjoram or a combination of all three, chopped fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 large chicken, weighing about lb, jointed
  • a little chicken broth, water, or dry white wine
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pour the olive oil into a large roasting pan and add the herbs and garlic. Add the chicken and mix it with the oil, turning the joints over to coat them thoroughly.
  2. Season generously with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked through, turning the joints over and basting occasionally with a little chicken broth, water, or wine. Serve hot or cold once crisp and golden brown.


I also cook rabbit, jointed in exactly the same way. Rabbit is much underrated and I believe should be more widely used. However, it does tend to dry out quite quickly, so do be sure to baste more frequently than if you were cooking chicken.