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Giuliano Bugialli was a great Italian food writer*. He died last month and I salute him now through my version of his “Pollo alla salvia ed aglio”. This is the quintessential taste of Tuscany – chicken pieces, red wine, olive oil and masses of sage. It is simplicity itself and unforgettable.

Materials for 4.

  • 1 chicken thigh per person.
  • ½ bottle dry red wine.
  • Large handful fresh sage leaves.
  • 3 or 4 cloves elephant garlic.
  • ½ cup olive oil.
  • Chicken stock cube.
  • 4 or 5 tbls tomato paste.
  • Salt and black pepper.


  1. Liquidise all the ingredients (apart from the chicken) to make the marinade.
  2. Pour marinade over the chicken pieces in a plastic bag, seal and marinade for 3 hours.
  3. Dry the chicken and sauté in olive oil and butter till golden all over.
  4. Add the marinade to the chicken and cook as a soft low boil for 20 minutes.
  5. Reserve the chicken, reduce the marinade by half.
  6. Serve the marinade source with the chicken and a sprinkle of chopped fresh sage leaves.

I would add a dish of polenta and a strong salad – brilliant.

Bugialli’s coffee table book “Foods of Tuscany” is as much a foodie classic as it is a vision of Tuscany.”