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involtini di pollo con spinaci e pomodori secchi

I am falling out of love with chicken.

I find it to be somewhat tasteless these days and difficult to create new recipes for my blog, especially when I am using chicken breasts. These days I prefer to find organic farm-raised or free range chicken, both whole and in parts as the flavor is so much better than the commercial product found at your local grocery store.

Talk to your butcher and see what they offer in organic, free-range or farm raised organic and try it yourself to see if you can taste the flavor difference.

I do love a whole roast chicken that I try to prepare on weekends; the combination of simple seasonings and roasted, crispy skin is really delicious and I love the leftovers as well as I clean and freeze the whole bone carcass to use in my homemade bone broth (recipe coming soon) that I use almost daily.

These days I prefer dark meat (legs, thighs) in poultry to a white meat breast, but in working hard to stay healthy for me and my family, I decided to revisit an old recipe that I have made on and off in the past.

The Italian food culture loves to roll and stuff many of their appetizer food offerings, the product resulting in an “involtini” basically anything that is stuffed, rolled and tied with string, then cooked to perfection and sliced to eat.

The outer layer can consist of pre-cooked thin eggplant slices, veal cutlets pounded thinly and thinly cut and pounded chicken cutlets which are featured in this dish.

This dish is the most simple preparation using few ingredients to add some flavor and depth to the chicken.involtini di pollo con spinaci e pomodori secchi_2


{chicken rollatini with spinach & sundried tomato}

4 to 6 thinly cut and pounded chicken cutlets

bunch of fresh, uncooked spinach leaves (trimmed & dried)

2 small garlic cloves, minced

sundried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)

salt and pepper to taste

light dash of spanish pimenton or paprika (for color and flavor)

olive oil

white wine vinegar or white wine

butcher’s string (to tie the rollatini)

Note: I sometimes add cheese to the filling to add some richness. I like to use Fontina, Emmenthaler or Comte (Gruyère de Comte) mixed with some grated Romano for a great balance of creaminess and salty tang. Be sure not to over salt the cutlets when using cheese as it contains plenty of salty goodness naturally.

Wash and dry all the cutlets and lay them flat onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper, rub some of the minced garlic onto each slice. Set aside.

Using a chopping board, thinly slice up about one to two of the sundried tomatos for each cutlet. I drain some of the oil by placing them on paper towels before I slice them.

Place a nice handful of spinach leaves flat on the top of each cutlet. Add the slices of sundried tomatoes and, if using cheese place it on top of the tomatoes.

Drizzle very lightly with olive oil and then, take the large end of the cutlet, begin to roll it up until you reach the end (gently push the filling inside as you roll it, if you have overstuffed it, remove some and start over.)

Use the butcher’s string to tie off one end and then simply wrap the string around two to three times or as needed and tie off the end.

Once the rollatini are all rolled and tied; place them in a deep roasting pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil, add a dash of pimenton to each rollatini and a splash of white wine vinegar or white wine. Cover with foil.

Place in a medium high heat oven at 425 degrees farenheit in the middle of the oven. Bake for 5-8 minutes covered; uncover and bake until lightly golden brown and bubbly.

Serve these immediately with a garden vegetable salad and a healthy side of quinoa cooked in vegetable stock. I like to serve this with my garlic and olive oil sauteed escarole and spinach or sauteed dandelion greens in season.involtini di pollo con spinaci e pomodori secchi_7

My family loved these and we had them for dinner last night. I am slowly coming back around to white meat chicken. I think I will make these with sauteed mushrooms and Comte (Gruyère de Comte) cheese next time…

Note: You can use a wide variety of vegetables and seasonings in these rollatini.

I love using chopped sauteed mushrooms & spinach, sauteed broccoli rabe & crumbled sausage meat, artichoke & fontina cheese or roasted sweet bell peppers & sauteed sweet onions.

The key here is most of the ingredients need to be already pre-cooked so the flavors meld and retain great depth and quality.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try your own favorite combinations depending on the season and what is available.

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