I suspect that when my daughter is grown and is asked what her favorite dinner was as a child it will be this one – hands down. How many people do you know who swoon at the smell of roast chicken and are jolted back to some distant past in which they claim were the “happiest days of my life”? Roast chicken has this amazing talent for making people feel warm and comforted. It might have been the Sunday dinner when everyone made it to the table or, after a rotten day at school you walked in the door and were greeted by your smiling mother and at the same moment a blast of that crispy roasting meat hit your senses and all of your problems instantly fell away. I’m not saying this is what happened but it is what you Think happened when you smell a chicken roasting merrily away in a nice hot oven! I too am not immune to its powers of distorting the past a little and somehow in making this dish I may be trying to recapture a part of my childhood that was sweet and good. Tonight was no exception. There was tiredness in the air but at the same time a feeling of relief knowing that the busy week was over and a lazy morning was in our future. The humble roast chicken managed to lull us yet again into a happy place.
(*Now, this sort of romantic talk about how Roast Chicken awakens our sense memory and gives us a warm cozy feeling is all very well if you love chicken as I do. However, I have to apologize to my sister and those like her who find all fowl foul!)
There are so many many ways to make Roast Chicken and this recipe is just one of them. Over time there will be a growing list of variations posted on my blog for you to choose from. This particular recipe is very fast and requires little more than throwing the following onto a pan and into the oven!
You will need: 1 cut up chicken ( 8 pieces – with skin & bones – 4 to 5 lbs), 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, 1 onion, 1 stalk celery with leaves, 1 head of garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh oregano, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup white wine, freshly ground black pepper, 2 tbs olive oil, 1 lb Tagliatelle.
Note about chicken: I buy kosher chicken for this dish (and any other roasted type chicken) and this is the reason why – it has been brined in salt which gives it wonderful flavor and very moist meat. I never add salt to the dish because it doesn’t need it (learned from experience). If you are using an unbrined chicken season it with salt at the same time as the pepper.
Preheat oven 425*
Get a big saute pan (12″) and have at the ready. Put each of the following in the pan as you prepare: diced onion, chopped celery, oregano stalks,
cherry tomatoes, separate garlic cloves (unpeeled). When all of the vegetables are in the pan add the white wine.Trim chicken pieces of extra skin and fat and layer over vegetables in single layer. Pour 1 cup chicken stock over chicken. Rub the oil
into chicken skin with hands. Season with freshly ground pepper (and 1 tsp salt if the chicken is unbrined – see note on chicken above) Place in center of oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes take out pan and pour the rest of chicken stock onto chicken (1/2 cup). Return to over for about 35 minutes at which point the
skin will be a deep golden brown. Remove chicken to plate and fish out all garlic cloves. Place pan on stove top and turn heat to low. If you want more broth add chicken stock or water 1/4 cup at a time and stir in until you are happy with consistency. Take garlic cloves out of skins (squeeze narrow end and meat should pop out) and onto a plate. Mash cloves to a paste and swirl into pan. Taste and adjust seasoning according to your taste. In the meantime put a pot of water on
and cook tagliatelle according to instructions. When cooked, drain and add pasta to sauce. Turn off pan. To serve put some tagliatelle on a plate with sauce and vegetables and top with piece of chicken. Serve it with salad or some sautéed greens if you like…