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Provolone & Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Provolone & Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
A savory stuffing of provolone cheese and pancetta gives a flavor boost to chicken breasts. Provolone is a cow's milk cheese from southern Italy that has a firm texture and mild flavor. For tips on stuffing chicken breasts, click on the link at left.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. plus 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 6 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 8 oz., pounded 1/2
      inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 oz. aged provolone cheese, grated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups toasted bread crumbs

Directions:

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 tsp. olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Transfer the pancetta mixture to a small bowl and stir in the sage.

Create a pocket in each chicken breast: Lay the breast on a work surface with the pointed end away from you. Insert a long paring knife in the center of the end closest to you (the rounded end). Move the knife around to enlarge the opening, forming a pocket; be careful not to cut through to the outside of the breast. Then remove the knife. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Stuff each chicken breast with 2 Tbs. of the cheese and 1 Tbs. of the pancetta mixture. Set the chicken on a wire rack-lined baking sheet and freeze for 5 minutes.

Put the flour, egg whites and bread crumbs in separate breading pans or shallow dishes. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then dip into the egg whites and coat evenly with the bread crumbs, pressing so they adhere. Set the chicken on a wire rack-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a wide pan over high heat, heat the 1 1/2 cups olive oil. Working in batches, fry the chicken until crisp and browned underneath, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes more, adding more oil to the pan if needed. Drain the chicken on a paper towel-lined plate. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately. Serves 5.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.