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We're officially heading in a winterly direction and that means it's time to crank up the oven and get roasting. The days are shorter, sunlight (what there is of it) is long and stretched thin, and those long, cold nights call for cozy, earthy food to warm you and yours from the inside out. A shockingly simple braise-roasted chicken -- just season, brown, and roast -- is classic and hearty. Melissav's brilliant Caramelized Squash Wedges get gussied up with a positively inspired ricotta, hazelnut, and sage pesto. Light a fire, open a favorite bottle, and feast.
One 4 to 4.5 lb chicken (Ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you. Or, if you'd rather DIY, just snip out the backbone with kitchen shears or a sturdy knife)
2 large shallots
2 rosemary sprigs
1 big bunch fresh sage leaves
2 butternut squashes (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ricotta salata
We assume you have butter, salt, pepper, garlic, lemons, chicken stock, fino sherry or dry white wine, olive oil, cayenne, and sugar. If not, you'll need those, too!
1. The chicken takes a bit longer than the squash, so focus on getting it into the oven first. Season the bird generously all over, and brown it in butter.
2. Set the browned chicken aside for a moment and soften the shallots and garlic in the pan you'll be roasting the chicken in. Add all the herbs and stock, and place the chicken back in the pan. Transfer to the oven to roast for about 30 to 50 minutes (until cooked through).
3. Peel and slice the squash, toss it with the seasonings and pop in in the oven along with the chicken to roast. (The oven will be at 425 degrees for the chicken, which is okay even though the squash recipe calls for 500. It'll just take a bit longer to cook so keep an eye on it.)
4. Prep the ricotta and sage pesto! (We highly recommend nibbling on the ricotta while you're at it.)
5. When you pull the chicken out of the oven, let it rest while you toss the roasted squash with the nutty ricotta pesto. Tuck in to a positively impressive weeknight autumn feast!