Welcome to my first blog post with a recipe! Since I’m home for winter break, I’ve taken the liberty of making dinner (with the help of my dad if he’s home in time) every night for the four of us. The four of us being my mom, dad, brother (whom we shall refer to as Bunyana ;) ), and me.
After flipping through Rachael Ray’s Look+Cook book, which my dad gave me for Hanukkah, I decided on her Florentine Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken. The picture looks absolutely divine, with crispy prosciutto on top of golden-brown chicken with the florentine poking out, garnished with pine nuts. And let me tell you folks, it was pretty darn yummy. Especially with the garlic bread and asparagus we made to accompany the chicken. The recipe is as follows:
Serves 4 to 6 people.
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (if it’s not completely defrosted by the time you want to cook, which mine wasn’t, take it out of the box and let it sit in some warm water for a little while, then strain in a fine strainer and then wring)
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshest is bestest!)
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg (I didn’t have any fresh nutmeg, so I used some ground nutmeg from the spice rack)
6 chicken breasts
6 slices (1/3 pound) Prosciutto di Parma
3 to 4 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
Preheat the oven to 400℉.
Wring out the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and place it in a bowl and set to the side.
Make sure you rinse the chicken and cut off any excess fat globs. These also had little niblets connected to them, which we cut off and sauteed as a little snack so the breasts were uniform and clean cut.
Now lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, but watch them so you don’t burn them!
Combine the nuts with the spinach in a bowl. Then add the cheeses, garlic, salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.
Then mix it all up!
Next, take each chicken breast and butterfly it, leaving the longer end in the middle. Be careful not to cut all the way through, or cut flaps into the chicken. Some of ours came out that way, it’s ok it blends back together in the oven.
Once all of the breasts are butterflied, take about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture, or less depending on how big the chicken breasts are, and spoon it onto one side of the chicken, toward the crease. Then close the chicken around the spinach like a book.
Next, place the closed chicken breast onto a rimmed baking sheet, and wrap a slice of Prosciutto across the top and tuck the ends under the chicken. Repeat for the rest of the chicken breasts.
Once all of the chicken is laid out on the baking sheet, brush each piece with some EVOO and put it in the oven. Now, Rachael Ray says to bake it for about 18-20 minutes, however, we left ours in an extra 5-10 minutes to ensure doneness. It also depends on how thick the breasts are.
Once the chicken breasts start to open up a little bit, that’s a sign they’re done. The Prosciutto should be nice and crispy. Also, don’t worry if you have a little bit of smoke effect. It’s from the drippings from the chicken and the Prosciutto.
This was my favorite one. It looked so perfect.
A cross section.
So, we also paired this wonderful chicken with roasted asparagus. To make this, toss asparagus in a plastic bag with some EVOO, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and/or whatever other seasonings you prefer. Some people close to me like to use Tony Chacherie’s :). Place asparagus out on a foiled baking sheet and roast at 350-400℉ for about 10 minutes, depending on how tender you like your asparagus.
Next, after watching The Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate with Garlic, my dad and I decided to try the garlic bread featured on the show. The recipe calls for: minced garlic, dried oregano, chopped fresh parsley and basil, salt, parmesan cheese, and EVOO. Spread onto a loaf of your favorite bread cut in half lengthwise and bake for about 10 minutes at 350-400℉. YUM YUM YUMMMM this stuff was so good!!! Needs more parmesan next time, but we’ll get it right. Perhaps I’ll use the Natural Butter Extra Virgin Olive Oil I bought the other day from Con ‘Olio’s in Austin. That would be crazy. There’s no butter in the stuff, yet the pure olive oil tastes like melted butter! Insane.
I’m rambling. This was the finished product:
Bottom line from this post: I need a better camera. And a cool lighting system. I’ll keep dreaming. Hanukkah’s over for this year. I’ll just continue to save up cash back points on my credit card, and in about a years’ time I’ll have enough to get a DSLR camera for free! Woo!
Until next time.