Nonna's Baked Chicken recipe |

Here is an easy meal from Maria Compagno, who with her husband Sal owned Compagno's Restaurant on St. Charles Avenue and Fern Street. 

The one-pan meal is one that she still makes when she invites a group over because it is delicious, and it requires little hands-on time.

I remember eating it when I joined the Compagno family on weekend trips to Waveland, Miss., when the last thing the family matriarch wanted to do on her limited time off was stand in front of a stove.

In her cookbook, "Maria Bertucci Compagno's Sicilian-Style Cooking," she wrote: "Momma would cook this chicken dish on Monday, clean-up day. She would put everything in the pan and go on with the day's work. My Sal loved it. I would fix it for the whole family. It is my children's favorite."

By Judy Walker Food editor Maria Bertucci Compagno's dream has come true. The former owner of Compagno's restaurant will sign the realization of her dream, "Sicilian-Style Cooking: From Ustica to New Orleans," on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Vincent's Italian Cuisine, 7839 St. Charles Ave. Vincent's is where Compagno's was before it closed in 1998 after 69...

Compagno suggests making a crisp, green salad to go with the chicken.

If you don't have a large roasting pan, you can use two 13-by-9-inch pans.

Nonna's Baked Chicken
Serves 6

8 to 12 chicken legs and/or thighs

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut crosswise into three pieces

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled, cut crosswise into four pieces

2 medium onions, peeled, cut in half, thinly sliced

3/4 cup water

5 ounces tomato sauce

1 stick margarine or butter

Preheat oven to 275 to 300 degrees.

Remove some of skin from chicken. Lightly salt and pepper chicken. Set aside.

In large, deep roasting pan, roughly a 16-by-13-by-2-inch pan, combine potatoes, onion, water and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Using your hands, toss together so that all pieces are coated. Place chicken pieces on top of mixture and toss again to coat. Gather pieces of coated chicken and place them on top of the potato mixture.

Cut butter into pats and place each pat on top of each piece of chicken; scatter remaining butter pieces over the potato mixture.

Place in oven on top shelf. Allow to cook for about an hour. Turn chicken pieces and allow to cook for another two hours, or until chicken is well done and easily comes away from the bone.

Let the dish stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

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