CNYEats A Taste of Utica Nona Rose’s Chicken

by Joanne on November 21, 2010

Rosa Giacovelli was my husband’s grandmother.  She came from Italy when she was just 16 years old travelling alone and hoping her brother would be on the shores of this place called New york to greet her – he was.  She was from Bari, Arturo Bello and was a great cook.  This is her recipe for chicken in the oven.  Now, remember, she really had no recipes – they were all in her head so everything here is a guesstimate! Everything can be increased/decreased to your liking.

On page 85 of the book A Taste of Utica, is the recipe for Nona Rosa’s Chicken.  The only thing difficult about this recipe is the chopping of the vegetables.  If you relax and chop with your favorite music playing in the background, preparing this meal can be very therapeutic. Enjoy! 


Posted by Jo Giacovelli


Nona Rose’s Chicken


  • *Favorite chicken pieces however use some pieces, or all pieces with the skin on for flavor.
  • 1 breast cut in half, 4 chicken legs, and 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 6 white potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 or 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut the same size as the white
  • 1 large green or red bell pepper, seeded then cut into large 1” chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS dried parsley or fresh parsley sprigs (about 6)
  • salt to sprinkle on top (to taste)
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes
  • 3 TBS grated Pecorino Romano cheese

*You might want to add an onion, chopped if you like.

Place the chicken pieces in a large baking dish.  Preheat the oven to 450 F. 

Add the chopped vegetables – NOT THE TOMATOES – around the chicken pieces.

Drizzle the vegetables and chicken with the olive oil. Add the garlic, parsley, salt on top of everything. 

Take the 2 tomatoes and, one at a time, squeeze them over everything in the pan.  Add the remaining squashed tomatoes left in your hand to the baking pan. 

Sprinkle everything with the cheese and add enough water to the pan to come up about 1 inch. *Add to the side of the pan so you don’t rinse the seasonings off the meat and vegetables. 

Cover with foil and bake at 450 for 1 to 1 1/2 ours. Uncover, reduce heat to 350 F and continue baking just to brown, about 15 minutes. *Not a lot of liquid should be left at the bottom.



This dish is so comforting and delicious.  It does take a little time to prepare but is well worth it.

Another good meal from our favorite book


Ted said the chicken was very tender and the flavors were perfect in this dish.


Wonder how many more delicious recipes Rosa Giacovelli brought with her from Italy?


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  • At 2010.11.21 11:12, claudia lamascolo said:

    Wow nicely done Joanne, I seem to remember this name. My mom was from Bari, wished she was still around to ask, but I believe they were good friends. This is a classic dish, we had often and you recreated it perfectly!

    • At 2010.11.21 11:21, Tammy said:

      What a wonderful post. The dish looks great and I love that its wrapped in family heritage. I also find chopping vegetables can be therapeutic.

      • At 2010.11.21 12:17, Monet said:

        Hi Joanne,
        This chicken looks so moist and flavorful. A true winner! And I love recipes that have been handed down for generations. I can’t imagine the bravery it must have required to cross the sea and move to a new country at such a young age! Thank you for sharing. Here’s to a week of baking, cooking and a lot of love!

        • At 2010.11.22 04:27, Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said:

          The dish looks really warm and delicious, I especially love the bright colours of the veggies!

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