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Rocco DiSpirito’s Pollo Al Forno

Now Eat This! Italy

Pollo Al Forno

Rocco DiSpirito's recipe for tender and juicy oven-roasted chicken has all the flavor and less than half the fat. With bright citrus notes and a bed of buttery and rich zucchini and Parmesan, there is nothing missing from this diet dish. 

Click here to see Italian Classics Under 350 Calories

Deliver Ingredients


  • Olive oil cooking spray, for greasing
  • One 3 1/2-pound all-natural farm-raised chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large zucchini, slice lengthwise 1/8 inch thick, using a mandolin
  • 1/2 Ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray. Place the chicken on a clean work surface. Cut four (1/4-inch-thick) slices from the lemon and stuff the remaining lemon in the cavity of the chicken. Place one lemon slice between the meat and skin of each breast, then place one lemon slice between the meat and skin of each thigh. Place one sprig of rosemary under each lemon slice, nestling it between the meat and the lemon slice.

Lightly coat the chicken with cooking spray and season it all over with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the baking dish and transfer it to the middle rack of the oven. Cook the chicken until the skin is browned and the meat is fully cooked. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. When the thermometer reads 155°F, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest, tented with aluminum foil, for at least 15 minutes. Do not skip the resting step.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove and discard the skin, reserving the rosemary and lemon slices. Pour the cooking juices from the pan into a small clear plastic container and let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to allow the fat to separate. Place the container above the baking dish and poke a hole in the bottom of it to allow all of the fat-free, decanted cooking juices to be released; quickly move the container before the fat on top comes through the hole. You can use a gravy decanter for this step if you have one.

Turn the oven off and place the zucchini in the baking dish with the chicken broth to just cook through during the next step.

Remove the chicken meat from the bones, cutting each breast in half and separating each thigh from the leg. Divide the meat among four plates. Everyone gets half a breast; two people will get a thigh, and two people will get a drumstick. Divide any remaining meat among the plates.

Remove the zucchini from the oven, and sprinkle it with the Parmigiano. Place it alongside the chicken on the plates. Pour the remaining cooking juices over the plates and place one lemon slice on each plate.

Pollo Shopping Tip

Buy whole chickens and ask the butcher to quarter them for you. You will save an average of $5 per pound, or more.

Pollo Cooking Tip

Legs take longer than breasts to cook. For more consistent results, mark the chicken on the grill and then finish cooking them in an oven.