Parsley and Pancetta-Flavored Ricotta-Stuffed Chicken
For other versions of this dish, mix defrosted spinach with garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg and ricotta, or ricotta and a layer of ham and spread under skin.
- 4 starchy potatoes, peeled
- Salt and pepper
- EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for liberal drizzling plus 1 tablespoon, divided
- 1 head garlic, 3 cloves peeled and minced, the rest left whole and cracked, divided
- A few sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 4- to 5-pound chicken
- 1/3 pound pancetta, cut into fine dice
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 small Fresno or red cherry chili, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped or processed
- 1 1/2 cups fresh regular or sheep’s milk ricotta, drained well
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Yields: Serves 4
Parboil potatoes 5 minutes in salted water. Let cool then cut into wedges or chunks and dress with oil in a roasting pan. Toss with whole, cracked garlic cloves and chopped rosemary, salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Using a cleaver, a large sharp kitchen knife or shears, split bird down the back, open and flatten it. Butterfly it then loosen the skin all over the bird, being careful not to tear it. Dress with EVOO, season with salt and pepper.
Heat EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, in a small skillet. Brown pancetta then combine with shallots, minced garlic and chili. Stir 2 minutes then transfer to bowl to cool. Stir in parsley, cheeses and nutmeg. Spread the cheese and parsley mixture all over the chicken under the skin in an even layer. Roast on a baking sheet covered loosely with foil for 30 minutes then uncovered an additional 30 minutes. Roast potatoes alongside the chicken for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
Serve with a tomato-arugula salad alongside.
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