Sicilian chicken roll-ups
This dish is a great combination of Sicilian flavors and when wrapped up in slices of chicken breast and gently sautéed, it is also a healthy way to enjoy them. The only difficult part of this recipe is to find very thin slices of chicken breast that are also wide enough to roll-up with the stuffing inside them. In Italy every supermarket has petto di pollo pre-sliced either sottile (thin) or sottilissime (very thin) and we use the very thin version for this dish to make the process of rolling up the involtini easier and to keep the actual cooking time of the chicken quite short.
But if you have to do this at home yourself, you’ll need a very sharp knife, one or two large raw chicken breasts and no small amount of skill. It’s best not to try to cut the meat too thin but instead put the slices between two sheets of plastic wrap and beat them with a meat hammer to spread them out a little without tearing them.
Ingredients for 2-3 people:
300 grams (10 oz) large thinly sliced chicken breast
40 grams (1.5 oz) blanched almonds
40 grams (1.5 oz) raisins, roughly chopped
20 grams (0.75 oz) sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
55 grams (2 oz) pecorino or caciocavallo cheese, finely grated (not pecorino Romano)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (proper breadcrumbs not dust)
handful of fresh flat-leafed Italian parsley, finely chopped
extra virgin Italian olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled but not chopped
2 bay leaves
This is a two step cooking process, first the ingredients for the roll-ups and then the chicken rolled up with the pre-cooked ingredients inside.
1. Dry fry the blanched almonds for about 5-6 minutes until bronzed but not dark, then chop them up well, but not into dust.
2. Oil a saute pan generously and sweat the onion and garlic for 8 minutes on medium heat without coloring.
3. Add the almonds, sun dried tomatoes, breadcrumbs and raisins to the pan, mix well and cook for a further 3 minutes on medium heat, stirring continuously.
4. Remove from the heat, discard the garlic and add the parsley and cheese and mix well.
5. Put the mixture in the center of each chicken slice and roll them up. They shouldn’t need a long toothpick or skewer to hold in place and to do so will make it harder to brown them evenly all over.
6. When they’re all ready, add the bay leaves to the pan with olive oil and sauté the chicken for about 5 minutes (depending on the thickness) on a medium high heat until browned a little.