Friday, June 14, 2013

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

Last Year's Post: Hoisin Burgers with Wasabi Slaw

I enjoy cooking and trying new ingredients and techniques so much that I actually feel sort of cheated if we're having a dinner that we just pulled out of the freezer to reheat.  I mean, what fun is that?  Of course, it's fabulous if you've had a really bad day but hopefully you don't have too many of those.  On the other hand, it's not a good idea to plan a week of meals that all take hours to prepare.  You have to have a break sometime.  This recipe is the best of all worlds - beautiful presentation, delicious flavor, an interesting technique yet fast to make, and low in calories.  It's definitely company-worthy, but easy enough to make any day of the week.  Really, what's not to like?  Moist and juicy chicken, woodsy sage and salty prosciutto covered in a velvety lemon sauce.  Yum.  Saltimbocca (meaning to jump in the mouth) is an Italian dish traditionally made with veal, sage and prosciutto but I love this version, adapted from Cooking Light magazine, even more.

It looks fancy but it's actually very easy.  Start with chicken cutlets, which are just thinner versions of chicken breasts.  You can sometimes find them in the store but it's just as easy to make your own by slicing a boneless skinless chicken breast in half horizontally.

OK,  I didn't do the greatest job of cutting it into two equal-sized cutlets but I'm sure you can do better.  Then you artistically place three fresh sage leaves on each cutlet and wrap with a thin slice or two of prosciutto, partially covering the leaves but letting some stick out. (That was the technique part in case you were wondering.)

Before sauteing  the chicken, heat a pot of water and start cooking some angel hair pasta.  The chicken cutlets cook for just a few minutes because they're thin.

Make a quick pan sauce from lemon juice, chicken broth, and a little cornstarch to thicken, then toss the  pasta with a little garlic and olive oil and you're good to go.  The entire meal takes maybe 30 minutes to make and has only about 400 calories but it tastes like a million bucks.

printable recipe
Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca
Serves 4

For the chicken:
2 (8 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally to make 4 (4 oz) chicken cutlets
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 fresh sage leaves
2 oz very thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 8 thin strips
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
lemon wedges for garnish, optional

For the pasta:
6 oz angel hair pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt.  Place 3 sage leaves on each cutlet; wrap 2 prosciutto slices around each cutlet, securing sage leaves in place.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirling to coat.  Add chicken to pan; cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

Combine broth, lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl while the chicken is cooking; stir with a whisk until smooth.  When chicken is removed from pan, add cornstarch mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan; bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. 

Drain the pasta and toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil and garlic.  Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over and pasta along side.  Garnish with lemon wedges, optional.

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