Marcella Hazan's Lemon Roasted Chicken

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September 30, 2013

Marcella Hazan, a pioneer of Italian cuisine, died yesterday at 89 years old in Longboat Key, Florida.  She introduced Americans to the art of simple and authentic Italian food in an era when such culinary concepts were undervalued.  Whether you are aware of her contributions to the food world or not, much of what we know and understand to be true Italian cooking is because of her.  This lemon roasted chicken is a testament to her cooking philosophy - simple good food. She will be missed.

Lemon Roasted Chicken
Recipe adapted from Essentials of Italian Cooking


1 3 to 4 pound chicken
2 small lemons
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash the chicken thoroughly in cold water, inside and out. Remove the neck and all the bits inside, then trim any loose hanging fat. Drain all the water from the inside and pat dry.
Rub generous amounts of salt and pepper on the chicken, and sprinkle some inside the cavity as well.
Wash the lemons, then soften them by rolling them with the palm of your hand on the counter. This helps release the juices on the inside. Then, with a skewer or toothpick poke at least 20 holes (through to the pulp) into each lemon.
Stuff the lemons into the cavity, then close up the opening either with toothpicks or trussing needles and string. Don’t close it up air tight or the chicken may burst during cooking.
Put the chicken breast down in a roasting pan. The chicken is self-basting, so it won’t stick to the pan. Place it in the upper third of the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes. After 30 minutes, carefully turn the chicken over (breast up). Try not to break the skin. If the skin remains intact then it will swell up like a balloon, making for a fun presentation!
Cook for another 30-35 minutes, then turn the oven up to 400 degrees and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.

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