Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

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Recipe of the Week (12/01/2011)

Posted by Bill Abruzzo on December 1, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Pollo in Forno con Spinaci, Prosciutto e Fontina (Roasted Chicken Breasts Topped with Spinach, Prosciutto and Fontina Cheese)

This recipe takes us to the region of EMILIA ROMAGNAWhen one thinks of chicken served with spinach, the Italian-American classic “Chicken Florentine” certainly comes to mind. It is a tasty combination of pan sautéed chicken medallions served over a bed of spinach and topped with a cream sauce. Although the name implies that this is the glorious specialty of Florence, it is actually an Italian-American classic. So, when you visit Florence, do not expect to find it a restaurant serving traditional Florentine fare. You will have to search it out on a tourist menu at one of the restaurants near the Ponte Vecchio. This recipe is my take on the classic combination of chicken and spinach. I top boneless chicken breasts with layers of prosciutto, sautéed spinach and fontina cheese and then finish them off with crispy breadcrumbs. 



Chicken Breasts (8 -boneless, skinless)

Prosciutto (4 ounces -sliced paper thin)

Fontina Cheese (1/2 lb)

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (1/3 cup)

Country Style Italian Bread (4 thick slices)

Olive Oil (for sauteeing)

Butter (1 ½ sticks)

White Wine (¾ cup)

Chicken Broth (about 1 ½ cups - as needed)

Flour (2 tbs)

Spinach (2 lbs)

Garlic (5 cloves)

Spanish Onion (½ small)

Rosemary (1 sprig)

Parsley (3 tbs chopped)

Paprika (to taste)

Black Pepper (to taste)

Salt (to taste)


Chop 3 cloves of garlic. Coat the bottom of a large deep frying pan with olive oil, set it on a medium burner and sauté the garlic until soft. Add the spinach and some water which will allow it to steam. Season the spinach with paprika, black pepper and salt, and sauté it until wilted and tender. Transfer the spinach to a colander and gently press out most of the liquid with the back of a wooden spoon. Chop the spinach, place it in a mixing bowl, and stir in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Butterfly the chicken breasts, place them cut side up on your work surface and season them with black pepper and salt. Place a layer of prosciutto on top of each chicken breast and then a scoop of spinach. Use a wooden skewer to pinch together the ends of each chicken breast in one spot at the center. Transfer the chicken breasts to a greased baking dish and tent it with aluminum foil. Bake the chicken in a pre-heated 415 degree oven for 40 minutes or until fully cooked.

Meanwhile, grate the bread in a food processor, transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl, toss them with a drizzle of olive oil, and set the bowl to the side. Grate the fontina cheese and set it to the side. Next, prepare the sauce. Coarsely chop the onion, parsley and remaining garlic. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low burner, sauté the onion and garlic until soft, and add the wine and herbs. Simmer for 7 minutes and then remove the saucepan from the burner and set it to the side. Place the flour in small frying pan and moisten it with enough olive oil to create a roux. Set the frying pan on a medium burner, sauté the roux until golden, and set it to the side.

When the chicken breasts are done, transfer them to a lightly greased baking tray and top each breast with plenty of fontina cheese and breadcrumbs. Tent the tray with aluminum foil to keep the chicken warm and set it to the side. Next, complete the sauce. Transfer the juices (1 ½ cups) from the baking dish to the saucepan. If there are not enough juices, add some chicken broth. Season the sauce with paprika, black pepper and salt, simmer for 7 minutes, and then strain the sauce through a mesh sieve. Press the aromatics left in the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon to extract all the liquid. Return the sauce to the saucepan, set it on a medium burner, whisk in the roux, and simmer for another 5 minutes, whisking all the while to thicken the sauce.

Turn the temperature of your oven up to 475 degrees. Remove the aluminum foil from the tray and set it in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are golden. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve it accompanied by the sauce. Serve hot. Serves 8 adults.


Categories: Meat Dishes

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Reply Stefanie from Atlanta
5:16 PM on May 8, 2012 
Hello Recipes and Ramblings. I made this recipe for a dinner party after reading these reviews. I was looking for something that would hold well in a buffet style service. It really was a good recipe for serving at a buffet in shafing dishes. I recommend this recipe highly.
Reply Mary
4:47 PM on January 5, 2012 
Very delicious! I will make it again.
Reply Jeff Silas
5:25 PM on December 21, 2011 
Hello and Merry Christmas. This is a delightful and elegant recipe. I shall prepare it again for a formal dinner party with friends. Thank you.
Reply Vincenzo from NC
11:09 PM on December 12, 2011 
I just made this recipe for a holiday party. It really turned out great. I made the chicken ahead of time, and then served it in a chafing dish, buffet style with pasta and sides. It held up very well under sterno heating. I recommend it highly. Thanks
Reply Paul from Boston
8:43 PM on December 5, 2011 
Looks like a great recipe for Christmas. Thanks!