Roasted chicken with grape sauce (Pollo arrosto con salsa d'uva)
Dear SOS: I had lunch at Massimo Ristorante in Beverly Hills with visiting relatives from Padova, Italy. They found it wonderful, and I was very impressed by the chicken in white grape sauce. It was very flavorful and not at all sweet. Would it be possible to obtain the recipe? I sincerely hope so.
Dear Milena: This recipe turns green grapes into a light but savory sauce, drizzled over freshly roasted chicken. The sauce is bright with the flavor of grapes and a little lemon zest, balanced by sage, chile and garlic.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the stems from the grapes and wash them in cold water. Place them in a medium saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt, white pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add enough water to cover the grapes. Cook over medium heat, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the grapes are thoroughly cooked and softened.
Using a blender or immersion blender, blend the mixture until it is a smooth sauce and the grape skins are completely dissolved. If the skins do not completely break down, return the pan to the stove and cook a few additional minutes until they dissolve when blended. Check and adjust the seasoning if needed. Set aside in a warm place.
While the grapes are cooking, cut the chicken in half using kitchen shears and remove and discard the backbone. Heat a grill over high heat. Season each chicken half with three-fourths teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper, and rub with the lemon zest, sage, garlic and red chile flakes. Drizzle lightly with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and place on a hot grill.
Sear the chicken for 3 minutes on each side to brown. Remove the chicken from the grill and place it on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast 30 to 40 minutes until done; the meat will be firm, and a thermometer inserted will read 165 degrees.
Remove the chicken to two plates and drizzle with the warm grape sauce. Garnish each half with the peeled and seeded grapes. Serve immediately.
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