Siri teaches Savannah how to cook an easy roast chicken dinner

TODAY Tastemaker, cookbook author and food blogger Siri Daly teaches Savannah how to make a simple, healthy and delicious dinner.

Savannah Guthrie learns how to cook an easy roast chicken dinner

    Siri shows Savannah how to prepare a classic roast chicken with pancetta, savory spaghetti squash with fresh basil pesto and a simple 4-ingredient Dijon vinaigrette.

    Nathan Congleton / TODAY

    Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Prep time: 5 minutes

    Servings: 6-8

    A family friend taught me this method to roast a chicken, and it will always be my go-to recipe. It requires very few ingredients, no giant roasting pan or trussing/stuffing involved, and it relies on the chicken's natural juices for impeccable flavor. Once you master this technique, you will impress your family and friends time and time again.

    Technique tip: Adding pancetta for the last 30 minutes of cooking helps trap in the chicken's juices and offers a lovely, salty crunch to the finished product.

    Swap options: You can swap out bacon for pancetta and red or white onion for the shallots.

    Ingredients

      • One 3-4 pound whole chicken
      • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      • 1 large shallot, diced
      • 1 large stalk celery, diced
      • 4 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

    2. Pat chicken dry. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper.

    3. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, breast-side down, and add the chopped shallots and celery, so they fall over the sides of the chicken. Cook for about 8 minutes and then flip chicken over. Cook for another 5 minutes.

    4. Turn off heat, cover pan with foil and top with lid. Using oven mitts, place in oven and cook for one hour.

    5. Remove pan from oven, remove lid and discard foil. Turn oven heat up to 450°F. Carefully drape pancetta over chicken. Place back in oven, uncovered, and cook for another 30 minutes.

    6. Remove chicken from pan and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve breasts, thighs, legs and wings. Serve with juices from the pan.

    Related video

    Savannah Guthrie learns how to cook an easy roast chicken dinner

    A family friend taught me this method to roast a chicken, and it will always be my go-to recipe. It requires very few ingredients, no giant roasting pan or trussing/stuffing involved, and it relies on the chicken's natural juices for impeccable flavor. Once you master this technique, you will impress your family and friends time and time again.

    Nathan Congleton / TODAY

    Cook time: 45 minutes

    Prep time: 10 minutes

    Servings: 4

    Roasting spaghetti squash is a very simple dish to master, and yet it's impressive enough to serve up at a dinner party. It's a great alternative to heavy pasta and it's a delicious, nutritious base for all your favorite sauces and toppings.

    Technique tip: A fork will help you easily scrape the squash "noodles" out of the skin.

    Swap option: You can serve the squash with your favorite pasta sauce or simply drizzle with olive oil and parmesan cheese instead of the pesto.

     

    Ingredients

    • Basil pesto (makes about 1 cup)

      • 1/4 cup pine nuts
      • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
      • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
      • 2 cups torn basil leaves
      • Extra virgin olive oil
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Squash

      • 1 spaghetti squash
      • Extra virgin olive oil
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preparation

    For the basil pesto:

    1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast pine nuts until they begin to brown, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat and let cool.

    2. Once cooled, add pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan to a food processor or blender. Pulse until everything is finely processed.

    3. Add basil, and process, slowly drizzling in the olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    For the spaghetti squash:

    1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    2. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet, flesh-side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    3. Place in oven and roast for 45 minutes.

    4. Remove from oven and, using a fork, scrape squash out of skin and place into bowl.

    To serve:

    Toss the squash "noodles" with the pesto and serve.

    Related video

    Savannah Guthrie learns how to cook an easy roast chicken dinner

    Roasting spaghetti squash is a very simple dish to master, and yet it's impressive enough to serve up at a dinner party. It's a great alternative to heavy pasta and it's a delicious, nutritious base for all your favorite sauces and toppings.

    TODAY

    Prep time: 5 minutes

    Yield: about 1 cup

    I can't even remember the last time I used store-bought dressing. It tastes so much better when you make it yourself, and it takes you no time at all. The best part? You will almost always have these ingredients in your fridge and pantry at all times.

    Technique tips: This can be made 3 days in advance. Simply bring to room temperature and whisk it up before serving.

    Swap option: If I don't have white wine vinegar, I will use red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.

    Ingredients

      • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
      • 1/2 lemon, juiced
      • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
      • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preparation

    Whisk first 4 ingredients together in a small bowl (or shake them together in a mason jar with lid). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Related video

    Savannah Guthrie learns how to cook an easy roast chicken dinner

    I can't even remember the last time I used store-bought dressing. It tastes so much better when you make it yourself, and it takes you no time at all. The best part? You will almost always have these ingredients in your fridge and pantry at all times.

    If you like those easy dinner recipes, you should also try these:

    Siri Daly's Asian Beef Lettuce Cups

    Get the Recipe

    Siri Daly's Baked Lemon Halibut

    Get the Recipe