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Alex Guarnaschelli's Roast Chicken with Bacon

(CBS News) NEW YORK -- Alex Guarnaschelli is one of the busiest chefs around.

She's executive chef of not one, but two New York City restaurants: Butter and The Darby.

She's a regular judge on the Food Network's hit show, "Chopped," has taken part in the Food Network's "Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs" competition, is a regular contributor to that network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," and just wrapped up the third season of her own hit Food Network show, "Alex's Day Off."

And she's working on her first cookbook.

Alex inherited her love of food and cooking from her parents, both avid foodies. Her mother, Maria, is a well-known cookbook editor.

After graduating college, Alex began her culinary career studying under the "Godfather of American Cuisine," Larry Forgione, and hasn't looked back since.

Alex visited "CBS This Morning: Saturday" with her ultimate dish: Roast Chicken with Bacon.

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Whole Roasted Chicken with Bacon

This recipe is so simple and comes from my childhood. The double layer of the bacon and chicken skin makes this chicken so tasty.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 3-31/2 pound whole chicken, gutted
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 lemons, cut into 8 wedges each
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F

2. Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity with the thyme and lemon slices. Arrange the strips of bacon, slightly overlapping, over the breasts of the chicken.

3. Transfer the chicken to a pan with a fitted roasting rack and place in the center of the oven. Cook for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook for an additional 40-50 minutes until the juices run clear or the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving. The bacon should form a hard shell over the breast meat. Take care to use a share knife when carving so the bacon stays on top of the white meat.

4. Make a sauce by pouring the juices from inside the cavity (along with the lemon wedges) into the roasting pan. Put the pan on the burner and whisk in the mustard. Stir to enable it to come together. Strain, pressing down on the lemon wedges to get the juice into the sauce, and serve with the chicken.

Battered Shrimp

Serves 8

I deeply love the taste of shrimp, and this recipe can be good for a wide number of sizes, depending on how you want to serve it. If you're serving it as a pre-meal snack, use smaller shrimp (a "U-16," for example), or if you want it to be more substantial, go for a larger shrimp ("U-10"). Either way, the sweetness of a basil leaf and biting into up right up against the sweet briny shrimp is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I feel like I am often searching to pair flavors that contrast one another. Salty with sweet or, in this case, spicy with "cool." In this case, the basil and shrimp are the same and add such earthy, natural sweetness, the flavor becomes addictive. I serve this with a spicy mayonnaise for dipping or even plain, with a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of Harissa.

The batter:

  • 1 8-ounce beer, Heineken is my favorite
  • 1 2ounce "shot" of vodka (the cheaper the better)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus a little extra, if needed

The shrimp:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 21/2 to 3 pounds "16/20" size shrimp, peeled and deveined, about 40-45 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • About 50 basil leaves, stemmed, washed and dried

1. Make the batter: Pour the beer into a medium size bowl and stir in the vodka. Slowly whisk in the cup of flour. The batter should be fairly thick (to coat the shrimp before frying) but also easy to stir. Set aside in a warm place.

2. Prepare the shrimp: "Press" the garlic clove into another bowl and stir in the olive oil and shrimp. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Prepare the fryer: Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pot (or, alternatively, a deep fryer). Heat the oil slowly to 375 degrees F. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel to drain the shrimp once they are cooked.

4. Cook the shrimp: Wrap a basil leaf around the middle of each shrimp like a belt. When ready to serve, Dip the shrimp in the batter and drop, in small batches, into the oil. Fry until crispy, turning on both sides with a slotted metal spoon. Drain them on the lined baking sheet. Season with salt. Serve immediately.

For more of Alex's recipes, go to Page 2.

Stuffed Artichokes

I think it's the little touches -- making your own breadcrumbs, for example -- that give this recipe a homey (and also very elegant) touch. I like to use the tablespoon measure to scoop the hay out of the artichokes because it's easier to grip and it really helps to extract all of the innards from the artichoke.

6 medium-size artichokes, stems trimmed

  • The juice of 3-4 lemons
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup coarse breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
  • 1 small bunch curly parsley, stemmed, washed, dried and chopped
  • 1 small bulb fennel, tough outer layer removed, quartered lengthwise and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup Fontina cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Prepare a bowl of cold water large enough to hold the 6 artichoke hearts. Add the juice of 2 lemons to the water. Use a paring knife to trim the dark green skin from the stem and the base of each artichoke. Since the stem is edible, why cut it off? Plus, the stem makes for a more beautiful presentation. Slice about 2 inches off the top of each and remove all of the small (and sharp edged!) inner leaves. Use a measuring spoon tablespoon to scoop out the "hay" or "choke" from the center of each artichoke. Squeeze the remaining lemon juice over the artichoke, rubbing the lemon directly on them, to prevent them from discoloring, and submerge them in the lemon water.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, breadcrumbs, parsley, fennel with the Fontina and Parmesan cheese. Stir to blend. Season with salt to taste.

3. Remove the artichokes from the water. Season them with salt, drizzle with olive oil, stuff each artichoke with this mixture and arrange them in a baking dish. Don't be afraid to "pack" the stuffing into each artichoke. Arrange them close together so they steam a little and create moisture as they cook. Add a little water to the bottom of the baking dish to prevent the artichokes from drying out or scorching on the bottom as they cook. Top the artichokes with any remaining stuffing. Cover the dish with a tight layer of aluminum foil and place the baking dish in the center of the oven.

4. After 25 minutes, remove the dish from the oven. Carefully remove the foil (the steam that gets trapped in there as the artichokes cook can be very hot!) and sprinkle them with a little more water. Cover them with the foil again and bake until the artichokes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 50-55 minutes total. Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Drizzle with olive oil.

Crispy Potatoes with Shallots

This is one of our most popular side dishes at The Darby. It goes with everything, has great texture and flavor. For best results, let the shallots sit for a few hours in the vinegar before frying.

Serves 4

  • 3 medium shallots, peeled
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 5 medium Baker potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 1 quart Canola oil
  • Kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Marinate the shallot slices: Place the onion, "root" end down, on a flat surface and cut it in half in half. Slice the onion fairly thin {about 1/8 inch}. Pour the vinegar and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Pour the vinegar mix into a medium bowl and stir in the onions and set aside.

3. Cook the potatoes: Place the potatoes in the oven and bake until tender when pierced in the center with the tip of a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set the potatoes aside to cool.

4. Prepare the fryer: Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pot (or, alternatively, a deep fryer). Heat the oil slowly over low heat to 375 degrees F. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

5. Prepare the potatoes: Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and break the flesh up with your fingers so there are some large and some small pieces. This should feel somewhat "organic" and therefore the pieces irregular in shape. Separate the potatoes into 2 piles, large pieces in one, smaller in the other.

Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel to drain the potatoes and shallots once they are cooked.

Fry the potatoes: Drop the potatoes, in small batches, into the oil. Fry the larger pieces first because they will take longer. Fry until crispy, turning on both sides

With a slotted metal spoon. Drain them on the lined baking sheet. Season with salt immediately. When all of the potatoes, big and small, are fried, toss the shallots in the oil and fry for 1 minute or so until slightly crispy. Remove them with the slotted spoon, drain and toss with the potatoes. Sprinkle with the vinegar from the shallots. Pile into a bowl.

Serve immediately.

For still more of Alex's recipes, go to Page 3.

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Brandied Cherries

This is such a simple cake and, in that way, one of my favorites. It's very hard to resist a second slice!

Serves 8-10

Equipment: Two round 8-inch baking pans

The cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks lightly salted butter plus additional for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • the zest from 1 lemon
  • the juice from 1 lemon


  • 14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 11/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 11/2 sticks lightly salted butter, cut into thin slices


1/2-3/4 cup brandied cherries with some of their liquid

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Prepare the cake batter: In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth, 2-3 minutes, and then add the sugar. Continue whipping until the mixture becomes fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, taking care that each one is thoroughly integrated. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and the flour mixture mix until fully blended.

3. Bake the cake: Grease the two pans with butter and fill each with half of the batter. Place the pans in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm or when the tip of a small knife emerges clean when it pierces the center of each cake, 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly, 1 hour at least, before splitting each cake in half horizontally to form four equal layers. Place the layers on a flat surface. Set aside.

4. Prepare the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate and sugar. In a medium pot, combine the heavy cream and vanilla and bring to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate has melted. Gently whisk in the butter pieces. Set aside to cool.

5. Frost the cake: When the frosting is cool, whip the frosting in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip to lighten the frosting, 1-2 minutes. Put the first cake layer on a wire rack with a fitted baking sheet. Frost each layer of the cake, stacking them as neatly and uniformly on top of each and frost the entire outside of the cake as well. Refrigerate for at least a half and hour. Warm the cherries slightly in a small saute pan and top the cake with them.

Quick Grape Spritzer

Get wonderful local grape juices at my market at the same stand where I buy my grapes. I especially like white grape juice for this recipe but anything will work! For vodka, I love Ciroc because it matches the grape flavor profile of the drink but love the "classics" like Stoli just as much.

Serves 8

  • 96-104 seedless grapes, stemmed, washed and frozen and 30 or so seedless grapes, stemmed and washed
  • 1 quart chilled grape juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups chilled seltzer (or club soda) or naturally sparkling water
  • 16 ounces vodka

1. Put half of the grapes in the freezer for garnish. Put the other grapes in a bowl and "smash" them with a whish (or fingers). Pour the grape juice and honey over the smashed grapes. Fill some glasses about 1/2 full with grape juice mixture. Stir in about 16 ounces of vodka and top with a splash of sparkling water. Drop and few grapes into each glass for a festive garnish that doubles as an ice cube!

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