Crispy Roast Comfort Food

 Tom Schierlitz

Paul Bartolotta is best known for Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, his lavish seafood restaurant at the Wynn Las Vegas. But for all of his restaurant’s sourcing and presentational pomp, his dishes are straightforward and brilliantly uncomplicated. One of Bartolotta’s preferred homemade meals is chicken, the most common – and most commonly overcooked – protein. Here the chef demonstrates how easy it is to do it right. “Our favorite cut is the thigh. It’s the most flavorful, and we do it supersimple – just roasted with garlic and rosemary. Every day, we cook this kind of food.”

For the Brown Rice:
• 2 tbsp butter
• 3/4 cup onion, diced
• 3 cups chicken stock
• 3/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
• 11/2 cups brown rice
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper

Step 1
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2
Melt butter over medium heat in an 8-inch sauce pot. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add stock and bring to a boil over high heat.

Step 3
Stir in bell pepper and rice. Season with salt and pepper, and return to a boil.

Step 4
Cover with lid. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

For the Chicken:
• 8 bone-in chicken thighs, with skin on
• 2 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 16 garlic cloves, smashed with skin on
• 16 asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch lengths
• 8 rosemary sprigs
• 1/3 cup dry white wine
• 1 tbsp lemon juice

Step 1
In a mixing bowl, combine chicken with salt, pepper, olive oil, and garlic. Place in an 11-inch roasting pan, and roast for 25 minutes along with the rice.

Step 2
Remove from oven, add asparagus and rosemary, and roast for 10 minutes more.

Step 3
Transfer chicken and asparagus to a serving plate. Add wine and lemon to the pan and cook over a medium flame until slightly reduced. Spoon over the chicken. Serve with brown rice.

“Instead of making a fancy sauce with stock or butter, just throw some white wine in with the pan drippings and add a little lemon juice for acidity. Squeeze it and throw it in.”