Thinking Mediterranean flavours but looking for something more unusual? I’ve got a recipe for you: prosciutto chicken involtini cooked in butter sage and white wine. This is a chicken variation to a popular Italian dish known as saltimbocca alla romana.
Saltimbocca means “jump into the mouth”, because this dish is so delicious that it just wants to be eaten. Traditionally, saltimbocca are made with veal, prosciutto and sage. They are cooked in a skillet with butter and white wine. It is a quick and easy recipe to prepare, perfect to pair with a mixed greens salad (my usual choice). In Italy, meat is generally served as “second course”, after the pasta which is first course. You can have these chicken involtini as main dish and pair them with a more filling salad than just a side dish. Something full of veggies and with a grain base, for example.
The reason why we are using chicken in this recipe is my personal preference. Often regarded as the cheapest and least interesting kind of meat, chicken is one of my favourites. Of course, you want to be using good quality chicken so if you have a chance to get the meat from a local farmer you will definitely taste the difference. Unlike traditional saltimbocca, I am using 2 slices of prosciutto and sandwiching my chicken in between. I am also rolling the meat up to make involtini – roll-ups – while saltimbocca are traditionally unrolled. Let’s say that saltimbocca are the inspiraton, but these chicken involtini with prosciutto are something else.
How to make prosciutto chicken involtini
First of all, cut up the chicken breast into thin slices and beat them with a meat tenderizer. For this recipe I made 8 slices and I used about 2 breasts. I have chosen the larger slices, saving the leftovers for later. You can as well lay 2 smaller slices together if you wish to use up all the meat, that is not very important.
Layer one slice of ham, one slice of chicken meat, another slice of ham and top with 2 fresh sage leaves on one end of the involtini slice. Roll up the sandwiched meat from the sage leaf side. Secure the roll-up with a toothpick or two. Proceed with all the meat slices, make sure you have 2 slices of prosciutto for every chicken slice. There is no need to add any salt to the chicken, as the prosciutto is very salty itself. If you don’t have fresh sage leaves, rather than rolling dried sage leaves inside the involtini I’d recommend to crush the dried sage over the chicken as a seasoning.
Set a skillet on medium heat and melt the butter, together with 4-5 sage leaves. Turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter is starting to bubble and the sage has released its flavour, add the chicken involtini to the pan. Cook them on medium heat for a couple of minutes, then turn them to brown both sides.
After a couple of minutes, pour one glass of white wine into the pot and let the medium-high heat evaporate the alcohol. After another couple of minutes, reduce the heat, turn the involtini again, and cover the pan. Let simmer for 4-5 minutes, in order to ensure that the involtini will get cooked through to the core.
Remove the lid and turn up the heat a bit more to evaporate any excess wine – you want to be left with a small amount of meat juice and wine glaze rather than a proper sauce. For a nicer presentation if bringing the pan to the table, remove wilted sage leaves and add fresh ones to the pan. Or proceed to plate the prosciutto chicken involtini directly, spooning up some of that glaze from the bottom of the pan. Don’t forget to warn your guests about the toothpicks!
Make it a meal!
Have a whole meal inspired by the flavours of the Mediterranean! Here are my top suggestions:
- Slices of farinata, a chickpea pancake in its simplified version
- Mini puff pastry tarts with mustard and tomatoes
- Eggplant pasta bake, if going for an Italian “pasta first, meat second”
- Fig and raspberry balsamico green salad, if choosing to have a side dish to the meat
- Butter sautéed carrots, for a classic side dish
- Individual servings of tiramisu in a glass, never go wrong with tiramisu!
- A slice of lemon lavender loaf cake, obviously to accompany espresso or limoncello!
Feeling inspired? Make sure to pin this chicken involtini recipe for later!
Prosciutto chicken involtini
Chicken involtini with prosciutto and sage cooked in sage butter and white wine. The Mediterranean meat dish you didn't expect.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 16 slices prosciutto crudo
- 40 g butter
- 150 ml white wine
- fresh sage leaves
Cut the chicken breasts into 8 thin slices and beat them with a meat tenderizer. Layer one slice of prosciutto, one chicken slice, another slice of prosciutto and top with 2 sage leaves on the side. Roll up starting from the sage leaves side, so that they end up in the core. Secure the roll-up with a toothpick. Repeat procedure until you have 8 involtini.
Add butter and 4-5 sage leaves to a skillet and melt on medium heat. Raise heat to medium high and when the butter bubbles, add chicken involtini to the pan. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes, then turn and brown the other side.
Add the white wine and let the alcohol evaporate for a couple of minutes. Reduce to theat to medium, cover the pan and let simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Remove the lid and let any excess wine evaporate so that only a small amount of glaze is left on the bottom of the pan. Scoop up the glaze and pour on chicken involtini when serving.
Fresh sage is to be preferred for this recipe. If you only have dried sage leaves, I would not recommend rolling those inside the involtini. Rather, crush the dried sage over the chicken meat, as a seasoning. You can use full dried leaves in the pan to flavour the butter, they will get soft as they rehydrate in the pan.