heaven on a plate. [chicken breast valdostana w. braised lentils]

September 12th, 2011 by | comments

I’m pretty convinced that adding prosciutto (and/or truffle oil) to a dish guarantees that it will be spectacular. That was definitely the case for this recipe (no truffle oil involved this time though). Prosciutto-wrapped chicken breast topped with Fontina cheese, crushed tomatoes, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a white wine tomato cream sauce.

Are you still with me? I can continue describing the braised lentils served alongside the chicken, but I don’t want to make you drool too much.

I went home again this weekend and made my mom and brother, Matt, this meal for dinner. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen Matt eat a meal that fast–and that’s saying a lot. We all gave this dish four forks…plus a few more.

Kristy, I think Miss A and Mr. N would give it four forks as well. :)

Braised lentils recipe:

2 cups brown lentils

1 large onion, diced (2 cups)

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

1 stalk celery, trimmed and diced (about 1 1/2 cup)

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups finely shredded fresh spinach, thoroughly washed and drained


Pour enough cold water over the lentils, onions, carrots, celery, and bay leaves in a 3-quart saucepan to cover by three fingers. Season with salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat so the water is at a gentle boil and cook until the lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the lentils, discard the bay leaves, and transfer to a large skillet.

Pour in the chicken stock and olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced enough to coat the lentils, about 3 minutes. Scatter the spinach over the lentils and toss just until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 package (4 oz.) Citterio prosciutto, fat removed (from Trader Joe’s)

All-purpose flour

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup seeded and crushed canned Italian tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 oz. Italian Fontina cheese, sliced thin

2 tbsp. additional seeded and crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Dried parsley, for garnish, if desired


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove veins and tendons from chicken breasts, then pound each breast. Place a piece of prosciutto over each chicken breast, trimming and layering each so it covers the chicken breasts as neatly as possible. Using the back of a large knife, gently pound the prosciutto into the chicken so it adheres. Dredge the chicken breasts in flour to coat them lightly and tap off any excess flour.

Heat 2 tbsp. of the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet with an ovenproof handle until the butter is foaming. Place in the skillet as many of the chicken pieces, prosciutto side down, as will fit without touching. Cook just until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Repeat, if necessary with the remaining chicken breasts, removing the browned chicken to make room. Adjust the heat as you work so the chicken doesn’t burn or stick in places.

Add all chicken back to the pan. Pour the wine into the skillet and shake gently to dislodge any brown bits that stick to the pan. Boil until reduced by half. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet and distribute the crushed tomatoes and remaining 2 tbsp. butter in between the pieces of chicken. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is simmering, tilting the skillet to mix the sauce. Drape the sliced Fontina over the chicken pieces to cover them completely. Dot the center of each chicken breast with a small mound of crushed tomatoes and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, the sauce is bubbling, and the cheese is lightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes.

While the chicken is in the oven, finish the braised lentils.

Very carefully remove the pan to the stovetop and let stand a minute or two before serving.

Spoon a mound of lentils onto the center of a warm dinner plate, top with a chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce around the lentils. Garnish with dried parsley, if desired.

Recipe from Epicurious.

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