If you frequent my blog fairly regularly, you will know that I am a chicken lover. I can eat chicken every day and never tire of it although I do like to prepare it in many different ways. Last week I pulled out a couple of chicken breasts rom my freezer, cut them lengthwise into cutlets, pounded them thin and stuffed them with spinach and grated pecorino cheese. Thinking they needed a little something extra, I wrapped them in paper thin slices of pancetta. If I say so myself, these chicken rolls, or pollo involtini were delicious, and I know I will be making them again fairly regularly. When I prepare chicken in this way, I like to brown them on all sides really well, then slowly braise them until they are cooked through and tender. For this recipe I simply used a combination of white wine and chicken broth to braise the chicken, and flavored it with some chopped fresh sage from my garden.
To simplify things, you can either buy the chicken cutlets, or cut your own from skinless chicken breasts which is very easy. I find it easiest to cut the chicken into cutlets if it is still a little frozen and I use a sharp chef’s knife to cut thin layers (1/3 inch thick) lengthwise. I had a bowl of sautéed spinach in my refrigerator already, but you can use frozen spinach if needed. Simply thaw the spinach, squeeze well to remove all excess liquid, then dress the spinach with 1 clove of minced garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. We can buy slices of pancetta here in Umbria that are so thin you can almost see through them which is what I used for my chicken rolls. If you cannot find thinly sliced pancetta, look for the thinest sliced bacon you can find.
Deborah Mele 2012
8 Chicken Cutlets 1 1/2 Cups Sautéed Spinach 8 Tablespoons Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese 8 Slices Very Thin Sliced Pancetta or Bacon Salt & Pepper 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 1 Clove Garlic, Peeled & Minced 3/4 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Sage To Thicken: 1 Tablespoon Butter 1 1/2 Teaspoons Flour
- 8 Chicken Cutlets
- 1 1/2 Cups Sautéed Spinach
- 8 Tablespoons Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 8 Slices Very Thin Sliced Pancetta or Bacon
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Clove Garlic, Peeled & Minced
- 3/4 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Sage
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Flour
Pound the cutlets thin with a meat mallet and lightly season with salt and pepper. Lay the cutlets on a tray or cutting board and divide the spinach amongst the eight cutlets, arranging it to cover, leaving a little space along the sides. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the cheese on top of the spinach on each of the cutlets. Starting at one end, tightly roll the cutlets up. Using a slice of pancetta or bacon, carefully wrap the chicken roll around and secure each with a toothpick. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and brown all the chicken rolls very well on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the broth and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partly cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a heated plate, and bring the wine mixture remaining in the skillet up to a boil. Add the sage, season with salt and pepper, and thicken with half the butter/flour mixture. If needed add more of the butter/flour mixture to thicken. Remove the toothpicks from the rolls, and return the chicken to the skillet and turn to coat in the sauce. Place the chicken on a platter and pour the sauce on top. Serve hot.