Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken and Carrot Orzo

Carrot Orzo--what a discovery!
        This is one of those times when the photograph of the dish simply doesn’t do justice to the incredible taste of this easy-to-prepare meal.  But here it’s not just the presence of the prosciutto that packs the wallop, or the subtlety of the sage and the counterpoint of the pan sauce, it’s the whole dinner plate.  This Orzo dish is a mean stand-in for Risotto and best of all, you do not have to stand at the stove stirring it!  It is creamy and flavorful and what a way to eat carrots!   If I haven’t convinced you to cook this very soon, perhaps this will be the kicker:  The whole thing can be on the plate, pan sauce and all, in under 30 minutes.  So read on…

        Why I have never heard of Rozanne Gold before I tore this recipe out of Bon Appetit, I have no clue.  Rozanne is a four-time winner of the James Beard award.   She not only helped create the late, lamented Rainbow Room that topped Rockefeller Center, she also had a hand in Windows on the World and three other three star restaurants in the city.  She’s written 11 cookbooks.   And she is apparently called “the Diva of Simplicity” something that should be terribly reassuring to any home cook who is the least bit intimidated by Rozanne’s stellar background.  Reading her resume, I’m beginning to feel that there’s something sadly lacking in my food education.  I’ll obviously have to make up for it now.  You can too and we can both start right here.
        The first thing to do is to reduce the boneless skinless chicken breasts to paillards.  Do not leave out the Sage leaves, they’re a big contributor to the flavor.   (We have a gorgeous Sage plant in our herb garden but of course, I didn’t remember to bring any home to the city.  But Sage is sold fresh at our supermarket.)  I was surprised how well the prosciutto ‘stuck’ to the chicken breast.  It was not at all hard to handle and cooked very easily in our non-stick skillet.  The Orzo is easy to prepare as well.  As previously mentioned, it’s not as terrifying to make as a Risotto, but just as creamy and flavorful, helped unquestionably by the small amount of Parmigiano which is added at the end of the cooking process.  The green onions give a crunch to the dish that is both surprising and delicious.  With these two dishes you can put a orchestra of flavor on a plate in under 30 minutes. 
Recipe for Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Lemon Sauce
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

8 large fresh sage leaves

8 thin prosciutto slices (about 3 ounces)

½ cup plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour

1 tablespoon butter

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons dry white wine

½ cup low-salt chicken broth
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap on work surface. Using mallet, pound chicken to 1/3-inch thickness. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place 2 sage leaves atop each chicken breast half. Top each chicken breast with 2 prosciutto slices, pressing to adhere. Spread 1/2 cup flour on plate. Turn chicken in flour to lightly coat both sides.

Melt butter with oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, prosciutto side down; cook 4 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook just until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to platter and cover to keep warm; reserve skillet.

Whisk wine with remaining 2 teaspoons flour in small bowl. Add broth and lemon juice to same skillet; bring to boil. Add wine mixture; whisk until sauce thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve with carrot orzo.  Serves 4.

Recipe for Carrot Orzo

6 ounces peeled baby carrots (about 1 

1/4 cups; from 16-ounce package)

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta; about 8 ounces)

1 ½ cups water

1 ¼ cups low-salt chicken broth

1 large garlic clove, minced

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

Place carrots in processor. Using on/off turns, finely chop carrots. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo and carrots; sauté until orzo is golden, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, broth, and garlic; cook uncovered over medium heat until all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Stir in cheese, green onions, and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.  Serves 4.


  1. This recipe excites me. You captured my fears about risotto nicely. I have stuffed chicken breasts, wrapped them with prosciutto and BBQ'd them with ease...yet I sweat and worry about the risotto like I did the first time my son rode down the street on a two wheeler. Thank you for this!

  2. We loved the carrot orzo. It was extremely easy to make and very tasty.