CHICKEN ANISETTE – sweet and warming, just like Italy

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Hi there,

In May, Dom and I were married 50 years. We decided to take a second honeymoon to celebrate. But, on this honeymoon, we would bring our oldest son, daughter in law, and grandchildren. We decided to go to Italy. Dom wanted to go to the Marche region, where his maternal grandparents lived before coming to America.

The city of Ascoli Picena was at the top of the list to visit. It is the largest city in Marche, where Dom’s grandparents were born. It is a very beautiful city, and it must have been very heartbreaking for those grandparents to leave. It makes my heart happy every time I look at these pictures of my son, grandson, husband, and granddaughter walking the same streets as their grandparents and great grandparents.

We tasted the famous stuffed and fried olives of Ascoli. These are the olives we prepare every Christmas. You can find the recipe here:

On the way out of town, our guide pointed out that this area was famous for making a drink called Anisette. Dom recalled that his grandparents used to make Anisette at home in, of all places, the bathtub! This fact made me laugh and fueled my curiosity to learn more about Anisette.

Apparently the introduction of the anisette came from the Arabs who conquered this region. The Arabs used the anise herb for medicinal purposes. In the Marche region, in the Piceno area, anisette is liquor for lacing espresso. The anise is a traditional product used for its alcoholic distillation aromatic properties. The anise is found throughout the mountainous areas and in particular on Monti Sibillini – growing with wild fennel or with fruit (apples, oranges).

While looking for a recipe for homemade anisette, I stumbled upon a recipe for chicken made with anisette. ( Chicken Anisette by Gerry DiNardo). The recipe looked good but needed some updating. What follows is my updated version of Chicken Anisette.

Anise’s virtues make everyone happy.” Unknown


  • 3 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 1 lb of mushrooms, sliced thick
  • flour, salt, and Aleppo pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of Calabrian Chili Peppers
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of Anisette liquor


  • Marinate the chicken in a 1/2 cup of Anisette at least 2 hours before cooking.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then coat with the flour.
  • In a large pan, warm the olive oil and then brown the chicken. Do not cook through.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and saute the onions and mushrooms with the chili peppers.
  • Drain and excess oil from the pan.
  • Return the onions, mushrooms, and chicken to the pan and cover with 1 cup of Anisette.
  • Cook at a slow boil until the Anisette has become a syrup and the chicken is cooked through. Approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

SPECIAL NOTE: I prepared this dish for 8 people, but it can easily be cut in half.

37 responses to “CHICKEN ANISETTE – sweet and warming, just like Italy”

  1. Darlene – British Columbia, Canada – Writer of children's stories, short stories and travel articles.!/supermegawoman!/pages/Darlene-Foster-Writer/362236842733
    Darlene says:

    How wonderful to return to the home of your husband’s ancestors. This recipe looks very good.

  2. That looks so good. I love that sauce a lot. The vacation with the whole family in Italy must have been really fun and wonderful.

  3. 💜 This is a Lady who understands that The Way to a Mans Heart is Through His Stomach EveryOne not Money; ergo, SHE!!! is a Keeper, a Great Grand Mother who understands Her Husbands, Kids and Grand Kids Culinary Delights EveryBody


  4. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, chocolate, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. I cook from scratch, and try not to use anything that has ingredients I cannot pronounce! After many years of daily serving up local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most full-fat dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies, and I try to educated myself about our food sources! I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy. I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all! XXXOOO Dorothy
    Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen says:

    I love the flavor of anise, and I’m sure this is an explosion of wonderful! Lovely photos, and it looks like you must have had a great experience. Welcome home!

  5. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats – NY, NY – Private chef, cookbook author, food journalist and translator. I love traveling and love to find out more about food wherever I go.
    Ronit says:

    Looks delicious. Adding Anisette liquor to this dish is such an amazing idea!

  6. Welcome home from your most amazing second honeymoon adventure! It sounds like it was a magical visit, and I know you will relive every moment when you recreate all the dishes you tried. This one sounds so interesting, and I love the anise flavor. 🙂

  7. I will carry the liquor from Italy next time I go and then try your recipe! 👍
    By the way: the Marche region is a splendid territory.

  8. What a wonderful way to spend your anniversary, it had to be so special. Congratulations and I hope you have many more years together. The chicken should be delicious with its sweet spicy sauce.

  9. Happy Anniversary and what an amazing family trip you must have had walking the streets of your ancestors with future generations. It doesn’t get much better than that.

  10. Hi Bernadette, this sounds like a delicious chicken recipe. I don’t know anisette though. I’ll have to see if I can find some.

  11. Wow! Congratulations! I would say that was the perfect way to celebrate such an important moment in life! 💕 and what a great way to use the Anisette!

  12. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    Jenna says:

    What a delightful dish to enjoy along with memories of your special trip and ties to Italy!

  13. Happy 50th anniversary, Bern and Dom. This sounds like the trip of a lifetime. What a wonderful experience for your family. I love the photos. That cerulean blue sky is so frequently seen in Italy.

    And, having sampled your chicken anisette, I can say it was over-the-top deliziosa! I can’t wait to make this dish. I love anisette and we loved your meal.

  14. Linda K – Hi, my name is Linda. I’m just a regular home cook in Toronto who decided to take a leap and start a cooking blog. My blog is meant to be a collection of my favorite recipes, as well as new recipes I discover along the way. I hope I will inspire you to get into your kitchen and try something new.
    Linda K says:

    Congratulations! Not only a fantastic trip, but inspiration for new recipes, the best part of travelling! I know I will enjoy this dish as I like that anise/licorice flavour in savory meals.

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