Is it always going to take me hours to decide what the next recipe should be? I hope not or this blog will take a while to take off.
Oh well, since I just gave you the recipe for something sweet, today I am going to share a meat based recipe, a variation of “involtini”. This is a delicious “secondo piatto”. A typical Italian meal is made of an antipasto, a primo piatto, a secondo piatto and a dolce, that is an appetizer, a first course (usually pasta based) a second course (usually meat based) and a dessert to top it off.
Involtini are made of some kind of meat, veal or chicken involtini are the most famous, rolled up with something inside and sometimes something outside. Too general? Yes, but there are really a lot of variations! Here is mine.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 16 slices of pancetta
- 50 gr almonds – 1/3 cup
- 1/2 glass of white wine
- 4 tbs butter (divided)
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 8 or more toothpicks (to hold the involtini together)
Start by cleaning the chicken breasts from the white, hard to chew parts. Then place the breasts on a cutting board and halve each breast keeping the knife parallel to the board, each piece should look like a breast but be half the thickness. Now pound the meat flat and thinner with the flat side of a meat hammer. Try to yield a rectangular shape. Finally cut each piece of meat in half to obtain squares. These squares are the base of your involtini. If you started from 2 chicken breasts you should now have 8 chicken squares.
Chop the almonds and melt 1 tbs of butter and you are ready to put these involtini together!
Brush one side of the meat with the butter, salt and spread some almonds on top, saving some of the almonds for the decoration (picture 1).
Close the meat in half in a triangular shape: take one corner and fold it over the corner at the opposite side. Wrap each triangle with one or two slices of pancetta. The easiest way is to lay two slices of pancetta one on top of the other on the cutting board, and lay the chicken pouch half on top of the pancetta, with the half uncovered pancetta coming out of the open side of the chicken pouch. Now wrap the pancetta around and fasten with a toothpick. The two angles of picture 2 should help understrand this entire folding, wrapping and blocking process. It sounds complicated but it really is not, at the second involtino that you wrap you will do great already, and no worries if it’s not a perfect triangle on is not perfectly folded, or the pancetta does not seem to stay put, the heat will fix this all, and it will be yummy anyways!
Here comes the cooking part. Heat a skillet with the remaining 3 tbs of butter and the rosemary sprigs. When the butter has melted, turn the heat to medium, add the involtini and brown each side. It should take few minutes per side.
Pour the white wine and let cook for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Plate your involtini spooning some of the sauce on top and serve.