Saturday, March 14, 2009

All Wrapped Up: Antipasti Style Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken

The flavors of antipasti - those fantastic Italian pre-meal nibbles - inspired this recipe. I took a whole lot of the nibbles (artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, asparagus spears, cheese, basil pesto) and tucked them discreetly inside a boneless chicken breast, then wrapped the whole shebang in a lot of love: thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma. Not much more to say, really, is there?

Antipasti Style Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken
Ingredients are listed, but the amounts will vary so I didn't even include measurements. Just stuff the breasts until they can't hold no mo!
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Fat-free ricotta cheese
  • Basil pesto
  • Sundried tomatoes (use the type that are stored in jars with oil), chopped
  • Asparagus spears, trimmed to 1" lengths
  • Artichoke hearts, chopped
  • Slices of Prosciutto di Parma (2 slices per chicken breast)
Start by cutting a pocket in each of the chicken breasts. I like to use kitchen shears and start from the fat side of the breast lengthwise; the finished cut will enable you to "butterfly" the breast for easier stuffing, but the ends will remain intact.

In a mixing bowl, combine equal parts ricotta cheese and basil pesto (1/4 cup each will do for 4-6 chicken breasts). Stir in the sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts, coating well. Smear a heaping tablespoon or two of the mixture inside each breast; finish by adding asparagus spears (by pressing them in the center of the mixture, its easier to accommodate their shape and the cheese/pesto will act as a binder to hold them in place). Tuck one loose end of the chicken inside the pocket to form a tight bundle. Wrap each breast with the prosciutto.

Place stuffed/wrapped breasts in a baking dish that has been coated with a dollop of olive oil. Cover and bake in a 400-degree oven until breast are cooked through, approximately 20 minutes. Remove the lid/covering for the last 5 minutes of cooking time to enable the chicken and prosciutto to brown.

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