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"We're making a delicious Mother's Day meal, but I think this is just a delicious meal for anybody, anytime," says Rach. Pollo alla mattone—chicken under a brick—is a traditional Tuscan recipe that yields super-crispy skin. (Rach and John ate a version of this dish on their first date!) 

She likes to serve it with dark greens, such as lacinato kale or escarole, wilted in EVOO with white beans and sage (you can loosen the mixture with stock), as well as charred ciabatta rolls, for mopping up the pan juices. Kick off the meal with John's Kissed by a Rose Champagne Cocktail and, for dessert, indulge in Maria Betar's Lemon Cream Puffs


  • One 3-pound chicken, spatchcocked (backbone removed and breastbone flattened and cracked)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped or grated
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen or seeds
  • 2 sprigs sage, stripped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, stripped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Non-aerosol olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 lemon halved
  • ½ cup white wine and stock or bone broth


Serves: 4


Preheat oven to 425°F.    

Loosen breast skin of the bird and into the thighs and legs. Combine butter, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper and fennel and spread under loosened skin. Set sage leaves and rosemary into place under the skin across the chicken. 

Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and lightly spray pan with oil. 

12-Inch Premium RUST-RESISTANT™ Cast Iron Skillet

12-Inch Premium RUST-RESISTANT™ Cast Iron Skillet

Rachael Ray

Place chicken skin-side down and brown about 5 minutes under 2 bricks wrapped in foil or a weighted cast-iron pan. Flip bird and roast 30 minutes. Add halved lemon during last 10 minutes.   

Douse lemon juice over chicken and cut into quarters. Add wine to pan and release drippings, then add stock. After chicken rests, serve with pan juice.