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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Gli avanzi di pollo a l’Italiana (Italian style leftover chicken)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Inspiration usually comes from the most unexpected of places (or people), at least for me.

During one of the many summer time lunches I recently made for my daughter was, per her request, chicken nuggets. Of course, always the innovator, I had to step up my nugget game because she even got me craving for them.

I ended up making so many nuggets and potatoes that I had to something creative with them the next day. Ah…leftovers.

Inspired by Italy’s cibo povero (peasant food), which really is a centuries old revolutionary style of cooking, particularly with dishes from Rome’s quinto quarto (fifth quarter), where nothing goes to waste, leading to daring risks in the kitchen, providing more often than not, amazing culinary results.

(Photo: Bence Boros)

Here’s me attempting to the same with chicken nuggets and potatoes…a l’Italiana (Italian style). You be the judge.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Gli avanzi di pollo a l’Italiana (Italian style leftover chicken) - homemade, Italian-style beaded chicken breast nuggets, pan-fried yellow potatoes, sautéed onions-rosemary with lemon zest.

Wine pairing: 2019 CK Mondavi and Family - Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

Serves 2-3



  • 2 lbs of fresh chicken breast, diced in 1 inch-sized nuggets

  • 2 cups for all purpose flour

  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs (in one medium bowl)

  • 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese

  • sea salt & cracked pepper

  • 1 tablespoon of oregano

  • 3 eggs (beaten and left in one small bowl)

  • 3/4 cups of olive oil


  • 1 pound of cooked (boiled though) baby yellow Dutch potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch slices

Final sauté:

  • 1 small onion, sliced in julienne strips

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely minced

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil


  • Fresh lemon slices or wedges

  • Fresh basil leaves

  • Sprig of fresh rosemary


*Note: the chicken and potatoes where made a day before, hence the leftover factor. The measurements noted above are for the actual dish preparation, if you want to have chicken and potatoes and still have leftovers, double the measurement.


  • In one medium sized bowl mix all purpose flour, Parmesan cheese, oregano and a few shakes of salt and pepper together.

  • Place egg wash bowl and bread crumbs bowl next to flour mixture bowl.

  • Dip each chicken nugget in the flour mixture first, then unto the egg wash and finally on the bread crumbs. Make sure nuggets are evenly coated.

  • Place breaded nuggets on a separate tray.

  • In a deep frying pan, heat up olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully deep fry nuggets until golden brown (no more than 8 minutes). Transfer to paper towel lined tray to drain excess oil.


  • In a medium sized pot, add potatoes and then water to halfway mark and boil potatoes until a knife can easily go through.

Leftover preparation:

  • On a large frying pan, heat up olive oil on medium heat.

  • Add onions and stir fry for 3 minutes.

  • Add potatoes and cook for 3 minutes, turn over potatoes and cook for 2 minutes.

  • Add rosemary and chicken and cook until chicken is heated through. Reduce heat to low.

  • Add lemon zest and carefully stir to disburse zest. Maintain pan on low heat for an additional 3 minutes.

  • Remove pan from heat.

Serve it up!

The great thing about this dish is that it so easy to prepare that it even looks beautiful serving it in the pan itself. You can still make this very appealing when serving it in portions by scooping a good heap of the chicken and potato mix on a plate and garnish the side of the plate with some fresh basil leaves with some lemon slices (or wedges) on top of the basil leaves and a sprig of rosemary on the side.

Leftovers never looked so appetizing.

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine...

Special thanks to CK Mondavi & Family for providing this rich and velvety wine. 2019 CK Mondavi & Family - Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: This Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a classic, deep red color, rich with cherry and blackberry flavors with a hint of oak and a long, silky finish for a perfectly balanced wine.

Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Food pairing: Chicken, roast pork, burgers, steaks, and mild cheeses.


2018 Vintage

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

86 Points Best Buy

2016 Vintage - Double Gold

98 Points - Best of Class

2018 International Women’s Wine Competition

For more information, visit: &


Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)


(Photo: Marie Ginette Amirault)

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