Sunday, 24 October 2010

Involtini di pollo - Stuffed chicken breasts

Involtini – or saltimbocca (jump into the mouth) – are a quick and delicious answer to the question: what else can I do with chicken breasts? Besides chicken, involtini can be made with other meats such as veal and pork or with a white fish such as plaice or even red mullet. You will also need some slices of prosciutto and perhaps another filling such as mushrooms.

The big question is, do you wrap the chicken in the prosciutto or the other way around? My answer is the prosciutto is wrapped in the chicken because this way you can add flavour by browning the chicken. I recognise that this is a minority view but it produces superior results.

What to serve the involtini with is almost as big a question. Tiny roast potatoes are one solution. In the photo you can see I’ve gone for another: the involtini rests on a mound of chard and alongside are a couple of slices of grilled polenta.

Ingredients (enough for 4)

150g mushrooms (you choose the type), finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

olive oil for frying

salt and pepper

a small bunch of thyme

4 chicken breasts

8 slices of prosciutto

4 tablespoons plain flour

125mls white wine

100mls chicken stock (you can use half a stock cube dissolved in boiling water or part of a tub of stock)

75mls of double cream or crème fraiche

250gm polenta

400gm chard (or spinach if you prefer)

50gr butter


1. First make the mushroom filling by frying together finely chopped mushroom, onion and garlic until they are soft.

2. Slice each chicken breast lengthways to produce 8 pieces.

3. Wrap each one in cling film and using a rolling pin or a mallet beat them out until they are very thin, perhaps ½ cm. thick.

4. Place each piece on a chopping board and place on top a slice of prosciutto.

5. Place a level tablespoon of the mushroom filling on the prosciutto plus some thyme, season and carefully roll up the involtini so that the filling is not extruded. Roll each involtini in flour.

6. Now heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole dish large enough to hold the involtini and then carefully insert the involtini so that the join is on the bottom out of sight.

7. Fry the involtini until you can see that the bottom join has sealed and that the bottom is beginning to brown, then turn them so that they brown slightly on every side.

8. Add the wine to the casserole and turn up the heat to burn off the alcohol.

9. Add the stock and the cream, put the lid on and place in a medium oven for 30 minutes.

10. Make the polenta by stirring the powder into a pan of simmering water and following the maker’s instructions. Once it has cooked through – this will take about five minutes depending on the fineness of the polenta – empty the polenta into a greased shallow metal dish and let it cool.

11. Wash the chard and chop it finely, then fry in a pan with butter until it becomes a soft mass. Just before serving turn up the heat to drive off any surplus liquid and season.

12. When the polenta is cold and solid, slice it into 8 10cm lengths by 4 cms wide.

13. Five minutes before serving, heat a griddle or heavy frying pan, lightly coat it in olive oil. Griddle the polenta gently so that it does not burn.

14. Meanwhile, remove the involtini from the casserole and place it on top of the stove on a fairly high flame so that the sauce is reduced if it is too liquid.

15. Place a flat mound of chard on each plate and then two involtini on top. Pour around some of the sauce, then place two slices of polenta alongside.


  1. OMG, that's looking so sumptuous! I really want to try that this weekend, I choose chicken breast recipes coz they quick and easy to prepare. thank you for sharing your recipe. Cheers!

  2. This was SO delicious!! I followed your exact recipe and I don't think it was too thick at all. It was nice and creamy and the flavors were great! My husband ate two bowlfuls and wanted more. We had plenty for leftovers. Thanks--this is a keeper!

  3. You are AMAZING! Thank you thank you thank you so much for this. I was considering doing the same thing and you’ve just made the task a lot less daunting.UpdateLand

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