It is one thing to say that simplicity is the essence of the Tuscan kitchen. It is quite another to taste the extraordinary deliciousness that can come from just one chicken, two lemons and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Roast Chicken with Lemon
1 chicken, about 3 1/2 pounds, neck and giblets removed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 small lemons
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Rub the outside of the chicken with the olive oil, then sprinkle the skin and cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the 2 whole lemons. Tuck the wings behind the back. Draw the drumsticks together and tie tightly with kitchen string.
Lightly oil a shallow roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken comfortably. Place the chicken, breast side up, in the pan and roast, basting occasionally with the juices, until it is deep golden brown and the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a knife, about 1 1/4 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh away from the bone should register 165 degrees F.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board and set the roasting pan aside. Remove the lemons from the cavity and set aside. Loosely tent the chicken with aluminum foil and let rest, about 10 minutes.
When the lemons are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and squeeze the juice into the roasting pan. Discard the lemons. Add 3 tablespoons water to the juices in the pan. Place over high heat and cook until reduced by one-third, about 2 minutes. Serves 4.