Roasted Chicken with Ricotta and Herb Filling
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2007
1 whole chickens (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F with racks in middle and lower third. Oil a large shallow roasting pan.
Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in ricotta, eggs, parmesan, herbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Remove backbone from chicken with kitchen shears by cutting down either side of the bone as close as possible and then removing. Pat chickens dry inside and out, then spread flat, skin sides up. Cut a 1/2-inch slit on each side of chicken in the triangle of skin between the thigh and breast near the drumstick, then tuck the knob of each drumstick through slit. (Here is a more detailed photo how-to for spatchcocking from the San Francisco Chronicle.)
Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and spread flat, skin side up, in prepared pan. Gently slide your finger between skin and flesh of breast and legs to loosen skin being careful not to tear skin. Using a small spoon, slide 2/3 cup ricotta mixture under skin, using a finger on outside of skin to spread filling over meat of breast, thighs, and drumsticks. Tuck wing tips under. Brush skin all over with 1 tablespoon oil (1 tablespoon) and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Spoon remaining filling into an oiled 1-quart shallow baking dish (approximately 10 x 7 inches).
Bake chicken in middle of oven 30 minutes, then put dish of stuffing in oven on lower rack. Continue baking until chicken is just cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh (through stuffing; do not touch bone) registers 170°F and until gratin is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes more. Let chicken rest 10 minutes, then cut into quarters. Serve with baked filling.