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Recipe: Roast chicken with a bertolli spread, garlic and herb paste

As Northern Ireland’s passion for Italian food continues, chef Gennaro Contaldo shares his modern take on some classic recipes.

What you'll need

I love to have a traditional roast chicken for Sunday lunch, and to make sure it doesn’t dry out, I like to spread a paste of Bertolli Spread, plus roasted garlic and herbs, over the flesh

1 chicken, weighing approx 1.5kg

1 small head of unpeeled garlic

5 large sage leaves, finely chopped

2 sprigs rosemary needles, finely chopped

Handful of mint, finely chopped

Handful of marjoram leaves, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon, keep lemon halves

100g Bertolli Spread

Salt & pepper

1 large lemon, cut in half

½ glass white wine

1 glass vegetable stock

4 carrots, cut lengthways in half

Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a hot oven for about 15 minutes until soft. With the help of a tea towel, remove the skins while still warm.

Place the Bertolli Spread and garlic in a small bowl together with the chopped herbs, lemon juice, butter, salt and pepper. Mix together well until you obtain a smooth paste.

Take the chicken and carefully ease the skin away from the breasts, taking care not to tear the delicate skin. With your fingers, spread the paste evenly all over the breast under the skin. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the lemon halves.

Line the bottom of the roasting tin with the carrots, arranging them in two lines like a railway track.

Place the chicken on top of the carrots — this is done to prevent the bird from sticking to the tin. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil rubbing well all over. Pour in the wine and stock.

Cover with aluminium foil and roast in a preheated oven for about 1 hour 30 minutes at 200°C/gas 4/400°F, until the chicken has thoroughly cooked through.

Remove the aluminium foil 20 minutes before the end of cooking time. Take the chicken from the oven, leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Belfast Telegraph