Often I volunteer at cooking classes, mainly at Orson Gygi. There is a lot of setting up stations, prepping food, helping students and cleaning dishes involved. It can be a long tiring evening. I do however get the pleasure of working close with Chefs. I love learning new cuisine styles and skills. A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of assisting Chef Tim Belarde. He owned restaurants in California for 15 years where he focused on Italian, Mexican and Cajun cuisines. Tonight it was Italian, which is a cuisine style that I want to improve upon.
The menu for the night was Chicken Valdostana, Mama's Sauce, Tuscan Baked Bay Shrimp and Panzanella. We were in for a treat, and a lot of dishes. I didn't get to do any cooking myself that evening. However, with the prep work, assisting at the cooking stations, tasting the food and talking with Chef Tim late into the night, I was optimistic that I could make the dish at home.
I was a little anxious as this past Saturday I would be cooking the Chicken Valdostana with Mama's Sauce for the first time. Especially since I would be taking it to my buddy and his family whose 6 month old son was in the hospital. I wanted it to be a great meal for them. Thankfully Sous Chefs Sam & Jesse assisted me and we went to work.
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
10 thin slices Prosciutto ham
10 - 1" by 3" block of mozzarella cheese
4 whole eggs
10 tablespoons herb butter (see below)
Cut the chicken breast in half and pound out chicken with a meat mallet. Spread a tablespoon of her butter on the inside of the chicken, and then lay the prosciutto over the butter. Place the mozzarella cheese at the bottom of the chicken breast and roll half way, tuck in the sides and roll the rest.
Place the rolls in the freezer for 15 minutes. Heat up 1 cup of cooking oil in a large skillet to about 325 degrees. Beat the eggs in a bowl, roll chicken in flour then dip in eggs. Carefully drop rolls in oil and cook until all sides are brown. Place on cookie sheet in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Mama's Sauce (A Rich Tomato Sauce)
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
8 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup yellow onions, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sweat the onions and celery in oil, deglaze with red wine. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and nutmeg. Let simmer for 30-45 minutes-very important as flavors need to develop. Taste, season as necessary, then mix with hand blender.
To Serve: place chicken valdostana on dinner plate and ladle mama sauce over the rolls.
While tasting the Mama's sauce I was quickly introduced to what "Rich" meant in Italian cooking. It means strong and powerful and takes you back a little bit. I am use to some sweetness in my Heavenly Homemade Pasta Sauce. It didn't take long to get use to it and made a beautiful marriage with the chicken.
1 lb butter
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Soften butter for 1 hour. Place all ingredients in mixer bowl and whip until light and fluffy; or double in size.