For those of you in the U.S., tomorrow is July 4th.  A day off from the monotonous work week and a day of remembering our Independence.  Cookouts will be in full force all over the country.  And of course, we cannot forget the fireworks! 

Andy and I don't really have concrete plans, we'll probably fly by the seat of our pants and do whatever comes our way.  Free concert and fireworks by the Waterfront?  Maybe.  Grill out at home?  Maybe.  Hang out with a bunch of friends?  Maybe.  Who knows… maybe none of those things will happen, but I'll be sure to give a report of what does the next time I post!

Roasted chicken is one of my guilty pleasures.  It takes at least an hour… more than that if you're willing to put your chicken through a brine – which is oh, so necessary, in my opinion.  The crisp, succulent skin, and the juicy meat is all it takes to put me in a blissful food mood. 

I had some heirloom tomatoes and mushrooms, so I just threw together a quick pasta to serve with the chicken.  It was quite tasty, and definitely hit the spot!

Ingredients:

Chicken Brine:
I always use this trusty quick brine from Michael Ruhlman

1 whole chicken (about 3-4 lbs.)
salt and pepper, to taste
4 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2 oz. pieces

Pasta:

1/2 lb. fettuccine noodles
1 large heirloom tomato, cut into 8ths
1 cup mushrooms (I had creminis), sliced
1 small onion, julienned
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Madeira
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
butter, to finish
shredded parmesan, for garnish

If you don't want to brine your chicken, you can definitely skip that step, but I promise you it'll be so much more flavorful if you take the time to do it!

Preheat oven to 425 F.

After the chicken has been brined, pat it dry and carefully place butter underneath skin of chicken.  Season the skin with salt and pepper. 

Truss the chicken and place on a roasting rack, breast side up.  Place in oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until skin starts to become golden brown.  Turn oven temperature down to 375 F and carefully flip bird so that it is breast-side down.

Continue to cook until the chicken reaches 155-160 F.  Let rest for about 5-10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 and juices run clear.

Prepare the fettuccine according to package directions.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil under medium high heat in a large saute pan.  Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until both start to soften.  Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until fragrant.

Deglaze the pan with the Madeira and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  Mount the sauce with a couple tablespoons of butter and season to taste. 

Toss the sauce in with the fettuccine and serve with roasted chicken.

Hope you guys have a great 4th of July!