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Chicken Rollatini ala Cygnus X-1
01-17-2011, 09:11 AM
Post: #1
Chicken Rollatini ala Cygnus X-1
This is a recipe I've been modifying and enhancing over the years. It combines some of the earthy flavors from Southern Italy with the buttery sauce inspired flavors from the north. I typically serve it when I have friends or family over for a special occasion. It has yet to disappoint. It does take some prep work but because you can make this dish in stages, you'll never feel overwhelmed and the results will make it look like you were prepping and cooking for hours.
The recipe and ingredient quantities is sufficient for a serving of four. Adjust accordingly for larger/smaller parties.

Ingredients

* Four boneless chicken breasts, butterfly cut and halved (or eight thin-slice chicken breasts)
* 1/4 lb of thinly sliced Prosciutto Ham (8 slices minimum) with as much of the fat removed
* 1/4 lb of Pancetta (Italian Ham - Optional but recommended)
* 1/2 lb of fresh mozzarella cheese - grated or sliced into 1/8" pieces
* 3 Eggs
* Tablespoon of Milk
* 1 cup of All Purpose Flour
* Parmesan Cheese - Grated
* One stick of salted butter
* One clove of garlic
* 1 Cup of White Wine
* 2 Lemons
* Fresh Parsley
* Angel Hair Pasta
* Salt/Pepper
* Canola Oil
* Olive Oil

Step 1 - Early Prep
If you opt to include the Pancetta, which I highly recommend for the flavor it will add to the dish, and the added contrast it will provide for the presentation of the meal, then you'll want to prep the pancetta first. This can be done as much as a day or two before the meal will be served. Take the pancetta and cut into course, cubes - about 1/4" in size or so. Using a good frying pan, heat about a tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the pancetta and stir continuously for 3-5 minutes or until the pancetta fat is rendered down and your left with smaller brown bits. Drain all of the oil/liquid and place the cooked pancetta in foil. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.

Step 2 - Main Prep - Chicken
Prepping the chicken is probably the most difficult part about this dish. "Rollatini", as you may have guessed, indicates that the chicken is to be 'rolled', containing ingredients within. On this step, you'll want to pound your chicken breasts as thin as possible (between 1/8" to 1/4" max). Once pounded thin, dust each breast with just a pinch of salt then lay one or two pieces of the Prosciutto (fat removed if possible) ham on top of the breast, covering as much of the chicken as possible. Next, place some of the mozzarella cheese in the center of the chicken breast and press down to flatten. Try to keep the cheese at least 1/2" away from all sides. Now for the tricky part; rolling the chicken. Beginning at one end of the chicken breast, begin to roll the breast forward, tucking in the sides if you can while you go. Don't worry if some of the ham or cheese peaks out of the sides. Once rolled, insert a couple of toothpicks to hold it in place and set on a dish. Repeat with the rest of the breasts and then store in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, until 30 minutes before your cooking time.

Step 3 - Final Prep
The hard part is over so all that's left is some additional prep for the chicken coating and the sauce. Perform these steps within 30 minutes of when you plan to start cooking.

1. In a small sauce pan, add the stick of butter, about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese, and the clove of garlic (sliced or smashed is fine -- don't worry, the garlic pieces will not make it to the final dish). This will be the base of the sauce. Do not begin to cook this until later (see cooking section below).
2. In a medium-sized deep bowl, add the 3 Eggs, milk, 1/4 cup of the grated parmesan cheese and a couple of pinches of the parsley (chopped). Whisk the ingredients until fully integrated and set aside.
3. In another medium-sized deep bowl, add the flour and a few dashes of salt and pepper.
You now have all the prep work done -- all that's left is the cooking, so let's get to it, shall we?

Step 4 - Time to Cook
Preheat you standard oven to 375 degrees (F) or 325 degrees for a convection oven. Remove the chicken and pancetta from the fridge. Take out a medium-sized pot -- one whose diameter is only slightly wider than your longest piece of chicken. Add enough canola oil to cover about two inches of the bottom of the pot (or enough to cover about two-thirds of the chicken if it were laying in the pot). Heat oil to about 350 degrees over medium-high heat. If you don't have an oil thermometer, expect the oil to take about 5 minutes to heat. You can test it by placing a few drops of the egg batter in the oil. If it sizzles quickly and cooks, chances are your oil is ready.
In the mean time, as your oil is heating up, remove all the toothpicks from the chicken and roll them liberally in the flour, shaking off any excess. Once the oil is heated, take one chicken breast at a time, dip and roll it in the egg batter then gently place in the oil. Depending on the size of your pot, you may be able to cook two pieces simultaneously. Let the chicken cook for one minute before turning it over and cooking for another minute. The idea here is to crisp up and brown the batter and get the chicken to begin cooking. The remainder of the cooking will be done in the oven. Place each chicken breast on a pizza stone or cookie sheet until all pieces have been fried. Once done, place all of the chicken into the oven. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Now that the chicken is cooking, you can begin to work on the sauce and also get some angel hair (or other pasta) ready. I'll leave the pasta set up to you. Begin the sauce about 5 minutes or so before the chicken is done cooking.

Heat the previously placed butter/garlic/cheese filled pot over medium heat. Stir lightly until all of the butter has melted. Take a teaspoon of the oil you used to fry the chicken and add it to the pot. Stir in the cup of white wine and bring to a light simmer. Once the sauce is simmering, lower the heat slightly and add a tablespoon or two of flour (or Wondra Flour) to thicken the sauce. Keep stirring to avoid clumps and watch the heat -- you don't want this to boil over. Moments before using the sauce, add the juice from one half of a lemon and stir again.

Step 5 - Plating and Presentation
At this point, you should be ready to plate your chicken. I prefer to plate each serving individually though you may want to put all the chicken on a platter. So, assuming an individual plating, add 2 breasts to a plate alongside the pasta. Using a strainer, spoon or pour some sauce over each piece of chicken as well as the pasta. Remember the cooked pancetta? This is when it comes into the dish. Sprinkle a liberal amount of the pancetta on the chicken and pasta. Finally, dust the plate with some parmesan cheese and chopped parsley before adding a couple of thin slices of lemon to complete the garnish.

You could also consider pre-slicing the chicken to immediately present the spiral design of white chicken to dark red ham that lays within. If so, make sure you slice the chicken carefully at an angle to present a wider piece of chicken. Flare the pieces of chicken around the plate with the pasta on the inside. Garnish as indicated above.

And enjoy.

-John (Jag2112)
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01-21-2011, 11:53 AM
Post: #2
RE: Chicken Rollatini ala Cygnus X-1
I'm going to try a variation of this dish tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.

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