Artist’s Palate: Alberto Alessi’s ass-burning chicken

food on tray with salt and pepper
'Tau’ tray, £148, by Kristiina Lassus; ‘PlateBowlCup’ soup bowl, £5.50, by Jasper Morrison; ‘Tonale’ beaker, £8.50; carafe, £19, both by David Chipperfield; condiment set (salt, pepper and toothpicks), £67, by Ettore Sottsass, all for Alessi
(Image credit: Gustav Almestal)

As the president of the design firm that bears his family’s name, Alberto Alessi has been the force behind the company’s most recognisable creations. Since taking the helm in 1970, he has enlisted an impressive roster of big-name designers to conceive tableware under the Alessi name. Under his tenure, it is now possible for anyone to own a piece by Ettore Sottsass, Naoto Fukasawa or Philippe Starck, whose quirky, humour-infused creations have come to define the company’s reputation. One can only imagine how the name for Alessi’s self-professed ‘ass-burning’ chicken recipe came about. Made with Mexican dried black peppers and doused in sweet wine, it exemplifies Alessi’s daring approach to design and a taste for the good life in every bite.


Take a chicken (better still, a real poulet de Bresse), cut it into eight pieces, then fry and brown with butter and oil in a Multiply frying pan. Transfer to a 28cm low casserole with a long handle with a little butter, and continue to cook, adding tomato purée (a generous quantity but not too much), a few diced carrots, and one or two vegetables, according to taste, such as onion, cauliflower, celery or leek, in modest quantities.

Cover with peppers that are as hot as possible (best of all, Mexican black dried peppers). Periodically during cooking, add sweet wine, preferably a German Auslese that's at least ten years old, until the whole bottle has been used. Salt to taste and continue cooking for approximately an hour and a half. Cover everything with peas and leave to cook for another 20–30 minutes to ensure the sauce is well absorbed.

The chicken should be almost loose due to the long cooking time, and should also be slightly too spicy for a normal eater to bear! Serve with small, roast new potatoes. Serves four.

As originally featured in the May 2016 issue of Wallpaper* (W*206)


For a superlative selection of Alessi products, shop at Wallpaper*STORE

Photography: Gustav Almestål. Entertaining director: Melina Keays

Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.

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