Aired January 7, 2009
1/2 pound sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausage
1 box frozen spinach, defrosted
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
1 garlic clove, grated
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Salt and ground black pepper
1 3-pound whole chicken, butterflied with rib cage removed (ask your butcher to do this for you*)
3 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound fettuccine
1 head garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (2 handfuls) flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
If you can't get your butcher to help you out, no worries, this is an easy task: Place the chicken breast-side down. With a knife or kitchen scissors, break the backbone, then remove and discard it. Be careful not to break through the breast meat. After the backbone is removed, the chicken should be lying flat and open like a book. Using your knife, follow the bones to remove the rib cage, leaving the legs and wings alone.
Preheat oven to 400F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the pine puts on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven for about 3-4 minutes, until golden brown in color.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken sausage with the spinach, toasted pine nuts, 1/2 cup Parmigiano, garlic, egg yolks, breadcrumbs, salt and ground black pepper.
On a clean work surface, lie the chicken skin sides down and season the inside with salt and ground black pepper. Place the chicken sausage mixture in the middle of the chicken, take each leg and wing side of the chicken and bring them together to enclose the sausage mixture.
Place the chicken onto a baking sheet, seam-side down. As best as you can, form the chicken so it looks like it was never boned out. (You can tie the legs together to help keep its shape, but that is optional.) Drizzle the chicken with EVOO, salt and ground black pepper, then place into the oven on the middle rack and cook for about an hour, until a thermometer stuck into the middle reaches 145F and the breast meat registers 165F.
Once the chicken is in the oven, start the roasted garlic: Slice the top half-inch off the top of a head of garlic. Place it on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with a little EVOO and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the foil around the garlic and place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, until the garlic is soft and the flesh is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the flesh from the cloves onto a cutting board and, with the side of your knife, mash the garlic into a smooth paste.
Add the paste to a small saucepot over medium heat along with the cream and whisk to combine. Bring up to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the cream has reduced by half.
When the chicken is almost ready to come out of the oven and rest, place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up to a boil to cook the fettuccine. Add some salt and the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions to al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the roasted garlic cream, remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano and parsley, toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
After the chicken has rested, slice it and serve the roasted garlic fettuccine alongside.