Pollo col Finocchietto Selvatico

By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:


Today, I’d love to share an ancient recipe. It is easy and has all the Renaissance flavors of herbs, nuts, and spices. I found it in a very precious book, the first cookbook ever printed:

De honesta voluptate et valetudine ("On Honest Indulgence and Good Health," often shortened to De honesta voluptate).


Written in 1465 by a neoplatonic philosopher named Bartolomeo Sacchi (nickname “Platina” because of his platinum blond hair), the book first appeared between 1470 and 1475 in Rome and in 1475 in Venice. Platina was in Florence, too, talking about philosophy and good food in the Medicis’ villa of Careggi up in the hills, where there was the Neoplatonic Florentine Academy.


The original recipe calls for wild fennel (though you can also use fennel you find in the market). If you can't find it, substitute with more fennel seeds.


Are you ready to jump into the past? It's time to make this fresh, healthy recipe full of spices!



Pollo col Finocchietto Selvatico

(Chicken with Wild Fennel)


1 chicken breast cut into cubes

2 oz (30 g) peeled almonds

1 Tbs fennel seeds

Bunch of fresh wild fennel

Dash of nutmeg

Dash of cinnamon

1 clove

2 cm fresh ginger

Salt and pepper

Extra-Virgin Olive oil

Sauté chicken in a pan with olive oil.