Hello fellow food enthusiasts! Chef Richie here, at your culinary service.
It’s March and Chef Richie Says, with Valentine’s Day still in my mind and birds and bees pollinating flowers at this time of year and spring equinox, which is beautiful to say in Italian: Equinozio Primaverale and, quoting poet Pablo Neruda: “I want to do with you what the springtime does with the cherry trees.”…in Spanish: “Quiero hacer contigo lo que hace la primavera con los cerezos”, which also sounds beautiful. I MUST still be in Valentine’s Day mode with all of this romance in the air and rolling off my tongue.
And, if you grow your own tomatoes, NOW is the time to get them started!!!
I wish we could cook this next honorably mentioned dish together, from our 2016 recipe contest…Prosciutto Wrapped, Sun Dried Tomato-Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken. I wish we could cook it together because it’s serious cooking, involved, real work, but when it’s this good and it’s spring solstice and you’re cooking spring chicken and working together, it’s as good as it gets. This is what we chefs live for…a yummy challenge; so when you go to cook this dish, do it with someone you love, or at least like. It’s a hot date. Do that.
PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED SUN DRIED TOMATO-GOAT CHEESE STUFFED CHICKEN Served with Tomato and Mushroom Risotto, Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce
¼ cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried tomato pesto
8 oz goat cheese, soften
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 8 oz
½ tsp coarse black pepper
12 thin slices Prosciutto
1 tbsp Bella Sun Luci California Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2½ cups cooked Bella Sun Luci Risotto Sun Dried Tomato with Wild Mushrooms
3 tbsp Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes with Italian basil, Julienne-Cut
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 basil florets for garnish
Prepare the chicken:
Heat the oven to 375F. In a small bowl, combine the sun dried tomato pesto and the goat cheese until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
Place a chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound breast until thin. Repeat the process with the remaining breasts. Season both sides of the chicken with coarse black pepper. Spread the tomato-cheese mixture equally over each breast covering the entire surface.
On a flat surface, layer three slices of prosciutto overlapping to form a large rectangle. Lay chicken breast on the prosciutto. Starting at the shortest end of the breast, roll up tight and tuck ends in to form a tight roll.
Secure with a toothpick, if necessary. Repeat the process with the remaining breasts. Chill in the freezer for 5 minutes to let the sundried tomato-cheese filling firm up.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; add the olive oil and sear the chicken breasts toothpick side up. Cook 4 minutes on each side. Finishing cooking the chicken in the oven until the internal temperature reads 155F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting each breast into five equal sized slices (If necessary, cover with foil to keep warm).
Prepare the Risotto:
While the chicken is cooking prepare the Risotto as per Bella Sun Luci Risotto package instructions, about 20 minutes total preparation time is required.
Prepare the Tomato-basil cream sauce:
Heat the cream and sun-dried tomatoes in small saucepan over low heat until the tomatoes are very soft, about 8-10 minutes. Do not let mixture boil. Transfer tomato-cream mixture to blender bowl and puree until smooth. Pour pureed tomato mixture into a clean small saucepan and return to stove over low heat. Add the shaved Parmesan and cook until cheese melts and the sauce is hot.
Spoon the risotto equally in a round mound among four individual warm serving plates. Arrange each sliced chicken breast on top of the risotto, overlapping the slices to form a tight circular pattern. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and risotto. Garnish the chicken with a floret of basil.
Congratulations to chef Anne Callaghan for her Bella Sun Luci 2016 recipe submission! Very nice work chef! BRAVA! BRAVISSIMA! Keep up the good work!
Chef Richie says: “GREAT idea to serve our sun dried tomato and wild mushroom risotto with the chicken! And GREAT idea to serve sun dried tomato cream sauce with it all. You may want to substitute our sun dried tomato bruschetta for our sun dried tomato julienne cut so you can save the pureeing step and add a little flavor, although Chef Carolynn’s version here is also excellent. Either way, the sun dried tomatoes combined with the cream make a pink-ish sauce, also called Mamma Rosa in Italy.”
Once more, congratulations Chef Anne for a lovely recipe. Now get cookin’, happy cookin’, and buon appetito!