Chicken Vesuvio, a Chicago classic


Last updated 3/1/2023 at 4:45pm | View PDF

Years ago, when I first moved to Hinsdale from Texas, I was curious to know what my new friends loved to eat. I would often ask people what they thought was best "Chicago food." The most popular answers were deep-dish pizza, Italian beef and hot dogs. But if I were to ask myself that question after living here for seven years, I would say that I love Chicago's family style Italian dishes.

One of my favorites is chicken Vesuvio. I first tasted it a Paul Virant's Vistro and after one forkful I was smitten. I had to find out more about this dish. Most importantly I wanted to learn how to make it so I could share it with my family and friends.

Chicken Vesuvio is deeply rooted in Chicago. The Tribune traces its possible origin to restaurateur Nick Giannotti. It was called chicken Vesuvio because the skillet smoked like an Italian volcano as it cooked. This delicious dish has crispy pan-fried chicken and potatoes, which are roasted in a white wine sauce.

Happiness is smelling the wine and garlic as it roasts in the oven. The crispy chicken and golden potatoes are wonderful, but the flavorful sauce is what makes the dish. It begs you to serve it with a good loaf of bread so you can enjoy every bit. This version stays true to the traditional flavors but the boneless chicken and baby potatoes take less time to roast which makes it perfect for the home cook.

- Amy McCauley of Hinsdale is the paper's food columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].


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