As I mentioned over the weekend, I had a perfect Saturday afternoon looking through cookbooks and planning dinner. It was a rare moment for me—for whatever reason, I haven’t reached that point in my life where I can sit down and do something as simple as look at some cookbooks on a weekend.
Well, I’m getting close. Last Saturday, that’s exactly what I did. I was seeking something to pair with Debbie Koenigs’s “Baked Macaroni with Ricotta, Spinach, and Mint,” from her new book, “Parents Need to Eat Too,” and I wanted an Italian roast chicken. Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” was the logical place to turn, so I pulled my copy down off my shelf and opened it up.
I combined two of Hazan’s recipes into one, borrowing her idea to put white wine on the chicken (an old trick of mine, and the rest of the world’s, I’m sure) from a recipe of hers that used chicken parts. I wanted a whole chicken, though and her suggestion, on another page, to use just a few ingredients—garlic and rosemary—was perfect. I was looking something clean and simple. Just like my life.
The bird turned out perfect. It was so good, in fact, that I’m tempted to make it again tomorrow night for my in-laws last night here. Stand by for details, and if you have a moment, tell me what you are making for dinner tonight.
Roast Chicken Italian Style
- One 3½ lb. whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry.
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled.
- 1 Tablespoon plus dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put the garlic, rosemary, and a bunch of salt in the cavity of the chicken, and then toss some more rosemary and salt and pepper on its outside*.
Put the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and put about a cup of water in the base of the pan (just enough to cover the bottom, and not enough to come up to the chicken; this will keep the bird from smoking and make the clean up easier).
Roast the chicken for about a half hour and then douse with wine.
Roast another half hour or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thigh reads at least 165 degrees.
*Note: I dressed the bird about an hour before I was going to cook it, and I left it sitting, uncovered, in the roasting pan on the top of the stove, which brought it up to room temperature before I put in the oven. If you have time to do this, I suggest it.