I spent a lot of time with my Italian grandmother in her kitchen. It’s where she taught me how to pronounce words properly. Mozzarella was shortened “mozzarell”, calzone sounded more like “calzonay” and I’m pretty sure my 10 year-old self once wrote prosciutto on a holiday grocery list as “proshoot”.
Prosciutto appeared only on special occasions, sliced thin and served as an appetizer. The nutty, buttery, salty delicacy always appeared with dates, melon or asparagus. Just like its Spanish cousin jamón that I ate when I lived there, prosciutto comes from the hind leg of a pig. It’s dry-cured and anyone in the know will tell you that the really good stuff comes from Parma.
My search for the good ‘proshoot’ brought me to Springfield’s old Italian neighborhood and a tiny shop that has bustled since the 1950s. Inside the glass case was exactly what I looking for: Parma Ham.
I watched as the butcher deftly layered thin, rosy slices on paper and wrapped them neatly in a brown package. I walked to my car, holding it tight. The cold, blustery day and fading sunlight didn’t matter, I was going home to create a dish in the very same kitchen where my grandmother taught me how to speak. Talk about warming the heart!
My plan is to make this flavorful, gluten-friendly dish this holiday season when entertaining guests inspired from Betty Rosbottom’s cookbook, Sunday Roasts. I’m certain it will be what I bring to family celebrations. The best part is that you can make it ahead of time and it tastes even better atop a creamy Parmesan polenta.
Parma Ham Stuffed Chicken with Pesto and Gorgonzola (Serves 4)
What You Need:
4 boneless chicken breasts
8 slices prosciutto
Small wedge Gorgonzola, crumbled
½ cup Pesto, store-bought is perfect!
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Wooden skewers, soaked in water
½ cup olive oil
What You Do:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Filet each chicken breast and set aside.
- Take one, open it like a book and cover with plastic wrap. Pound into 1/4-inch thickness with a rolling pin. Repeat.
- Arrange flattened chicken breast on your work area. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then place two prosciutto slices in the middle. Add cheese and a hearty line of pesto. Close and secure with a wooden skewer. Repeat.
- Place pieces in a heavy pan prepped with olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Rest chicken breast a few minutes before removing skewers and cutting into 1-inch slices.
What You Need:
3 cups water
1-1/2 cups stone ground corn meal, such as Bob’s Red Mill
1 tsp salt
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ stick unsalted butter, cubed
What You Do:
- Bring water and the salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan.
- Add polenta and stir constantly until thickened.
- Remove from heat and fold in Parmesan and butter. Cover and set aside. Stir before serving.
Follow Parma Ham on Twitter for a chance to win $50 worth of the world’s most famous ham. Click on the banner below to participate. This post is a collaboration between the blogger and Parma Ham.