Anne's Blog

During Coronavirus Lockdown, Umbria Goodness

Date: March 21, 2020 - categories: , , - 5 Comments

All over the world now, people are sharing ideas on how to fill the lockdown days. Here in Italy, a good amount of daily time has always been dedicated to cooking good foods and eating them together. And now more than ever.

Our primo today was a quick one: I just warmed up the sugo I’d made yesterday with tomato sauce, tuna, capers, garlic, oregano and olives.

Today’s side dish was an easy one, too: potatoes boiled in salted water, then peeled, sliced and seasoned with diced chives from the garden, our olive oil and some wine vinegar.

Our secondo, too, was unelaborate today: chicken breasts sautéed in diced garlic and fresh rosemary with lemon juice and white wine.

This savory second course can be made quickly – in the time it takes to bring your pasta water to a boil. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

If you have fresh rosemary, start by washing about three or four branches and then strip off the needles:

(And I had picked a few flowering branches, too, and put them in a vase for the table):

Peel 3 or 4 garlic cloves and dice with the rosemary:

The garlic and rosemary must be finally diced: you may wish to use a Moulinex (or similar) but I use our cradle knife (“mezzaluna”, i.e.,“half moon”):

In an apron made for me by one of my US cooking classes hosts – (though she spelled my last name wrong!)

Pino joined in on the dicing, too:

To cook the chicken breasts, cover a stainless steel frying pan with extra-virgin (ONLY!) olive oil – and heat until the oil is hot (but not smoking!):

Add the chicken breasts – and the meat should be tender and sliced finely:

Ideally, you’ll buy the chicken breasts from a good butcher who’ll give them a good pounding with his stainless steel mallet so that the slices are thin and tender. Francesco does that for us. I couldn’t take his photo yesterday when as he prepared our chicken as only one of us is authorized to exit our home to grocery shop. Pino has the necessary printed copy of an autocertificazione (“self-certification”) as he is still allowed out to finish a stone restoration job. And he grocery shops – if needed – on the way home.

I had taken photos of Francesco, though, around Thanksgiving when he was pounding the deboned turkey thighs Pino stuffs each year for our Thanksgiving. Here is Francesco “on the job”:

As the chicken breasts sauté in the olive oil, sprinkle them with Kosher salt, then top with the rosemary/garlic mixture. Simmer the chicken breasts for a couple minutes only, then flip the over with a fork. Add the juice of a lemon:

Simmer on medium heat a few minutes…and add a splash (or two) of white wine, if you wish:

Raise the heat for a few minutes so that most of the liquid evaporates:

Sprinkle the remaining diced garlic and rosemary on the chicken breasts, then lower the heat for just minute or so:

Serve hot:

Pino enjoyed his petto di pollo al rosmarino…..

…..and I enjoyed making the dish, taking photos, writing this up. Once again, food preparation and the enjoyment of it proved an ideal way to ward off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack).

Click here for another easy recipe to ward off CPA

Click here for a recipe of Pino’s mamma, Signora Vincenza (also helps ward off CPA)

Click here  for another “coronavirus lockdown” recipe

Read here about an outdoor market visit to ward off a CPA (Coronavirus Panic Attack)

Click here to read about Novella’s vegetable stand during the coronavirus lockdown

Read about new life on our land during the coronavirus lockdown.

Read about how reflecting on Van Gogh helped me see the beauty all around – in simple, insignificant objects

Click here to read about – and see! – a favorite Orvieto eating spot (to ward off CPA)

Read about – and see! – Assisi during coronavirus lockdown

Read about a Pino feast on March 8th as coronavirus distraction 

Click here to read about March 8th – as a coronavirus antidote

Peppa is always perfect distraction from a CPA

Read about a stop for fresh pasta to ward off a CPA


  • Janet Eidem says:

    All looks delicious Annie! I must try your secondo. We all must continue to savor the goodness of each day, while being vigilant. I pray you and Pino and Peppa remain in good health.

  • Diane Eagleson says:

    Glad to see you’re still cooking. It looks delicious! Stay healthy.??

  • Janet Eidem says:

    Yum! Trying to comment for the second time here.

  • Marybeth Evans says:

    Thank you so much I love your recipes. And the connection to beautiful Italy cheers me. Be well Annie

  • Jane Beckwith says:

    Dear Annie,
    Your carefully crafted posts bring a visit with you as real as can be. Thanks for all the details, the many pictures. Here in Brooklyn sirens never stop. It is a blessing this Eastertide to have your messages. I read new posts and older ones over and over again. These virtual visits are THE antidote to CPA!

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Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)