24 February 2013

Chicken Pizzaiola

Another simple dish that was featured on the TV show Dagelijkse Kost (Everyday meals), on the Flemish channel Eén. (for more info on this show see my previous post) and which met a frank success at our house tonight.

Pizzaiola is a classic tomato sauce, which can be used in numerous dishes. For this particular dish, it accompanies chicken fillets filled with creamy pesto and ricotta.

Ingredients for 4 servings :

For the pesto:

* 40 g Parmesan cheese
* 30 g pine nuts
* 30 g basil
* 1⁄2 garlic clove
* 8 cl olive oil
* a dash of lemon juice
* seasoning (salt & pepper)

For the filled chicken fillets :

* 4 chicken breast fillets
* 8 slices of smoked bacon
* 1 large Tbs of pesto (made with the ingredients above)
* 3 Tbs of ricotta
* a dash of olive oil
* seasoning (salt & pepper)

For the pizzaiola sauce :

* 1 large onion (at leat)
* 3 garlic cloves
* 1⁄2 red chili (used my chili flakes mill instead)
* 200 g cherry tomatoes
* 3 dl tomato meat
* 2 Tbs of capers (not used as we don't like them)
* a pinck of dried oregano
* 2 dl water (or stock - I used chicked stock)
* a dash of olive oil
* parsley
* seasoning (salt & pepper)

Preparation :

Pesto :

Put the pine nuts, the parmesan cheese, the peeled garlic and the fresh basil in your blender.  Pour the olive oil in with the other ingredients and blend everything to a smooth pesto.

Add a dash of lemon juice and season to taste with a salt and pepper.

Chicken Fillets :

Start on the chicken fillets, so they have time to set for a while in the fridge.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta and the pesto to a smooth paste.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The remaining pesto can later be used in order preparations)

If your bacon slices have a rind or cartilage, you should remove them.

Clean the chicken fillets, removing the possibly remaining fatty bits or the though film. Slice every filet horizontally in order to have a chicken steak when folded open.

Spread a layer of the ricotta filling on each of the opened chicken breast and close the steaks again.

Wrap two slices of smoked bacon around each chicken breast and fix it with a tooth pick.

Place the chicken on a plate and put it in the fridge to set. Don't forget to rince off your cutting board after have worked with the raw chicken!

Pizzaiola sauce:

Chop the onion.  Heat a dash of olive oil and fry the onion until it becomes translucent.  Feel free to fry them for a few minutes, so they can give the sauce a sweet taste.  Keep an eye on the heat though, so the onions don't colour.

Peal the garlic and dice it before blending it to paste.

If you use a chili, chop it in fine pieces. In the original recipe, he left the seeds in but as I said, I used my chili flake mill.

Add the chili and garlic to the skillet with the onion and stir.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the skillet, with a large pinch of dried oregano.

If you like capers in your sauce, you should add them now to the skillet and let them stew.

Add the tomato meat and the water (or stock).

Stir and let the sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes on low heat,  The longer it simmers, the beter is becomes.  Season to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta al dente.  In general, a regular portion would be 100g of dry pasta per person, but I only used 170g for two servings and still had a some left over.

Preheat the over to 180°C.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet on medium fire and colour the chicken fillets in a few minutes.  Put the coloured chicken fillets in a oven dish and cook them further in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Serve hot.


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