Parsley and Pancetta-Flavored Ricotta-Stuffed Chicken
Parsley and pancetta-flavored ricotta dress up a chicken for a special meal. Roasted potatoes tossed with garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper are a perfect complement, along with a Tomato and Arugula Salad served alongside.
- 4 starchy potatoes, peeled
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), 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 of fresh rosemary
- 1 4-5-pound chicken
- 1/3 pound pancetta, cut into fine dice
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 small Fresno or red cherry chili pepper, 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
Parboil the potatoes for 5 minutes in salted water. Let cool, then cut into wedges or chunks and dress with EVOO in a roasting pan. Toss with whole, cracked garlic cloves and chopped rosemary, salt and pepper.
Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
Using a cleaver, a large sharp kitchen knife or shears, split the 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 the EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, in a small skillet. Brown the pancetta, then combine it with shallots, minced garlic and chili. Stir for 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl to cool. Stir in the 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 for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve with a tomato-arugula salad alongside.