Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Makes 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes

I was inspired by Suzanne's stuffed chicken legs, and determined to produce something nearly as elegant but far less complicated. One way to do that is to turn to ingredients that already have great developed flavors, and there are none better than prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

You could stuff boneless thighs or legs in this same manner, but it's a bit trickier to pound them out, and chicken breasts are far easier to find. The results are delicious either way. At Lucques, I served the chicken on a bed of sauteed spinach to echo the greens in Suzanne's dish, but you could serve this with almost any vegetable.

4 (6-ounce) chicken breast halves
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 slices prosciutto, preferably imported, halved
Several thin slices Parmigiano-Reggiano
Chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter (or use more oil)
1/2 cup white wine or water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In turn, put each of the breast pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound firmly with a mallet or other object (your fist will work, too), until evenly flattened and less than 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt (not too much since both the prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano are salty) and pepper, then layer on a couple of pieces of prosciutto, some Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a good sprinkling of parsley. Roll up and, if necessary, skewer with a toothpick or two (if your chicken is evenly flat and more or less uniform, and you roll tightly, it will self-seal).

2. Put an ovenproof skillet, large enough to accommodate the 4 rolls comfortably, over medium-high heat and wait 1 or 2 minutes. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter (the butter should sizzle) and, when the butter foam subsides, put the rolls in the pan. Brown the rolls on one side, 3 or 4 minutes. Flip them, then immediately put the pan in the oven. Cook until the rolls are done, about 15 minutes (they will be lightly browned and quite firm when done, but it's safest to cut into one to be sure the meat is no longer bright pink). Remove to a cutting board and let rest.

3. Put the skillet back on top of the stove over medium-high heat. Add the wine and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is all but evaporated. Stir in the vinegar and reduce by half, just a couple of minutes, then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter until it melts; taste and adjust seasoning. Cut the rolls into 1-inch slices, arrange on a serving platter, pour the sauce over all, and serve.