Chicken Saltimbocca, Farfalle with Pesto, and Sauteed Spinach

by Kelly on August 10, 2009

This menu is quicker and easier to prepare than you might think. The whole dinner took about half an hour to make, start to finish. Plain pasta could certainly be served in lieu of the pesto since the chicken has a nice sauce to it. But if you are trying to use up a pound of fresh basil, pesto is a nice compliment to the buttery, salty chicken. The pesto recipe below makes a large amount of pesto; you will need less than half of the batch for a pound of pasta. I spoon my extra pesto into ice cube trays, then store them in plastic bags in the freezer. For instant pesto year round, take a few cubes out while the pasta of your choice is cooking, then toss the cubes with the hot pasta and a splash or two of the pasta water. Top with freshly grated Parmesan.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Serves 4

1/2 cup (60 g) all‐purpose flour
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 lb (680 g) chicken tenders (or chicken cutlets)
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
3 oz (90 g) thin slices of prosciutto, cut into pieces to match the chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
4 tablespoons (60 g) butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 200°F (100°C).

Combine the flour and pepper in a shallow dish. Pat the tenders dry with paper towels. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Sprinkle the tenders evenly with minced sage. Place 1 prosciutto slice on top of each cutlet, pressing lightly to adhere.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium‐high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the tenders to the pan, prosciutto side down, and cook until light golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. The prosciutto will adhere to the chicken. Flip and cook on the other side until light golden brown, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. (Note: If the skillet is not large enough to hold all the tenders, cook only half of the tenders, remove from pan, then add 1 tablespoon oil and cook the other tenders as directed.) Transfer the tenders to the oven to keep warm while preparing the sauce.

Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon the sauce over the tenders before serving.

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Pesto

4 cups fresh basil
1 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
about 1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup walnuts and/or toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Pulse the basil, parsley, and garlic in a food processor until finely minced. Add the nuts and cheese. While the processor is running, pour in olive oil until the desired thickness is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For use as a pasta sauce, add about 1/2 cup pesto to 12 oz (340 g) cooked pasta and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan.

***

Sauteed Spinach

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb (450 g) fresh spinach, washed and thoroughly dried
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To a cold skillet, add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté over a medium‐low heat until the garlic just turns golden, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté over a medium‐high heat, stirring frequently, until the spinach just wilts. Season to taste and serve. Optional add‐ins (after cooking): splash of balsamic vinegar, grated Parmesan, lemon zest, or toasted sesame seeds.

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