|Fresh basil on top would have been great but it was pouring rain, I wasn’t headed to the garden!|
The rain was coming down in sheets last night so there was no chance of us venturing out. We hunkered down and went for a new comfort food for dinner, stuffed chicken breasts. This time we chose proscuitto and mozzarella for a salty bite and then smothered the rolled chicken in a sweet plum tomato sauce and topped it all off with caramelized shallots. The best part of this dish is that it’s a one pot wonder. A few steps to get to the prize but they are all easy and fun.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 lb thin sliced proscuitto
4-6 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 28 oz can peeled & steamed plum tomatoes with basil and in juice
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
scant 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 spaghetti squash, roasted and shredded
parmesan cheese for topping
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350° for both roasting squash and cooking chicken. The squash should be halved, scraped free of seeds, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. It goes into the oven cut sides up and roasts for about 30-40 minutes until soft.
In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan with lid that can be transferred to the oven, add a whirl of olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over med-hi heat. Toss in thinly sliced shallots and let reduce until a caramel color has developed, season with a touch of salt and pepper. Be sure to move the onions around with a spoon so that they all get coated with the butter and have a chance to cook evenly.
Depending on size of chicken breasts, either pound entire piece flat or slice in half vertically and pound the two pieces flat. Let out that aggression from the day! Get a bacteria resistant cutting board out and place the chicken breast on top. Lay plastic wrap over the chicken and use a mallet to flatten, pushing out from the center of the meat when you strike.
Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper and lay 2 pieces of proscuitto and 2 slices of mozzarella over the middle of each chicken breast. From top to bottom, roll the breast onto itself, tucking in the stuffing and securing with toothpicks. Try to secure the ends by weaving a toothpick in and out of the meat so as to keep as much of the cheese in the roll as possible.
Once the shallots have finished caramelizing, transfer to a plate to reserve. Add an additional tbsp of butter to the same pan and add the rolled chicken breasts to brown on all sides. The meat will release from the pot when a good color has formed…let it do it’s thing rather than moving it around constantly. The idea of this step is to develop flavor, not cook the meat entirely so a 2-3 minutes on each side should do the trick. Once browned on all sides, transfer to a plate to open the pot up for the sauce.
First hit the pan with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine and watch it sizzle! Get out a wooden spoon and scrap at the bottom to loosen all the flavor. Once the pan is sufficiently deglazed, add the canned tomatoes, fennel seed, red pepper flakes & garlic powder. Use your wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes into large chunks and to stir the sauce to combine. Season with salt and pepper as needed and let simmer for a few minutes to bring the flavors together. Add the chicken breasts (and any liquid on the plate) back to the sauce mixture which should cover about 2/3’s of the chicken. Add the shallots to each of the chicken breasts, top the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 10-15 minutes.
If you’re good, it’ll come out a few minutes before the squash is done and it can simmer away on the stove (not over heat) while you shred the veggie into spaghetti like threads. Just use a fork to work the squash out of it’s skin, top with a drizzle of olive oil, parmesan cheese and a little pepper. Next, top the squash with 1 chicken roll with the shallots on top and a generous helping of the tomato sauce.
Get it while it’s hot, this one is soul warming and you’ll be fighting for seconds!