Chicken al Mattone with Pancetta Recipe

Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli
Italian Cuisine Expert and Food Blogger
Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli, the mastermind behind Nonna Box, has honed his culinary expertise for decades, inspired by family feasts in Emilia-Romagna. Mentored by his restaurateur nonna, he mastered Italian classics and furthered his skills with professional culinary studies in desserts and gelato making from Mec3. Today, he shares this rich legacy and authentic recipes through Nonna Box.
Expertise: Italian cuisine, Pasta, Pizza, Pastry, Dessert

I get a lot of emails asking for new chicken recipes, since it is the most popular meat in America. I took influence from my recent trip to Tuscany and found this simple and delicious recipe called Pollo al Mattone which means “chicken under a brick”…but I decided to eliminate the brick and instead I cooked it in my cast iron skillet.

Chicken al mattone recipe

If you don’t already own one, go and purchase a good cast iron skillet. It will last you forever and you can create such amazing flavor by using it. The marinade is very important with this recipe, so you just need to prep it the night before, with the bird and the herbs and let it sit in the fridge overnight to maximize the flavor.

Nonna makes this with slices of pancetta on top of the chicken, so I did too, which keeps it the meat moist but also adds a wonderful bacon-like flavor. I hope you add this new dish to replace some of your outdated chicken recipes, I know your family will be happy that you did.

Chicken al mattone recipe

Chicken al Mattone with Pancetta

This chicken recipe takes a different spin and it's delicious.
4.43 from 7 votes
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Course: Secondi
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 76kcal


  • organic whole chicken butterflied
  • 4 smoked pancetta slices about 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 large onion sliced to 1/4-inch
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • In a medium bowl add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, chili flakes, olive oil and lemon juice and mix well.
  • Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper and pour the marinade mixture to coat completely, massage for 1 minute.
  • Cover the bottom of the cast iron skillet with some of the sliced onions, and add the chicken skin side down.
  • Put the rest of the onions on top and cover the pan with plastic wrap, transfer to the fridge and let it marinate for 24 hours.
  • Take the chicken, onions and marinade out of the skillet and transfer to a plate.
  • Heat the skillet on the stove over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, when hot, place the chicken skin side down and sear for about 5 minutes or until the skin turns golden brown. Turn the heat off and remove the chicken.
  • Add the onions back to the bottom of the skillet and put the chicken skin side up on top of the onions and add the marinade and pancetta slices on top.
  • Transfer to the oven and roast at 400° for 35 to 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°.
  • Cut the chicken with a kitchen knife and serve it.


Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 12.1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg
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