Chicken Involtini

July 12, 2010

My husband walks into the kitchen while I’m riffling through cookbooks, searching for something–anything–that will add verve to my menu for the week.

“You own too many cookbooks,” he says.

“I know.” I keep flipping. Pad thai? Yawn. Greek lamb chops? Meh. Yet another variation of Cobb salad? Ick.

He absentmindedly thumbs through Weber’s Way to Grill, one of my go-to cookbooks in the summer.

“Are you sick of grilled salmon?” I ask, hesitating over a page.

He shrugs. “Not really.”

But not exactly a ringing endorsement there, either,  Better Half.

” I hate planning dinner sometimes,” I grouse. “It’s a pain in the ass.”

He pauses. “I could make dinner once this week.”

I look at him.

“No, really,” he says.


“I could do it…I could figure out what to make, and shop, and cook. You wouldn’t have to do anything. Well, except probably answer a bazillion questions, but I’d do a lot of it.”


“Oooookay, what did you do? Seriously. Did you buy a new car or something? An iPad? Don’t tell me you want to golf all weekend.”

“Jeez, suspicious much?”

Hmph. Maybe I am. But in my defense, my husband has never, not ever, offered to make dinner. Sure, he’s agreed to slap the pork tenderloin I’ve  marinated on the grill, or cook the burgers, but make dinner? As in: plan, shop, prep, prepare, clean up? No way, Caterpillars.  This is like Close Encounters of the Third Kind or something.

Long story short: I agreed. But you’re gonna have to wait for the details. I’m bitchy like that.

In the meantime, I’ll share the recipe I decided to make for dinner. It’s from the same cookbook, Weber’s Way to Grill by Jamie Purviance. This recipe is fairly easy, but it rates big on the Impress-o-Meter. Plus, it’s downright scrumptious. Added bonus? It requires pounding the tar out of chicken with a mallet, which is greatly cathartic after a day chasing naughty children.

Chicken Involtini with Proscuitto and Basil

serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 8 ounces each, tenders removed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 very thin slices prosciutto

4 thin slices provolone cheese, halved

8 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups good-quality tomato sauce

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.

For each piece of chicken, use about 12 inches of plastic wrap. Place the chicken, smooth side down, to one side of the plastic, about 2 inches from the edge. This will allow the chicken to spread out as it gets thinner. Starting from the thick side, gently pound the chicken with the flat side of a tenderizer or the bottom of a small, heavy skillet, moving to different areas with every stroke until it is about 1/4 inch thick and just about doubles in size. Don’t pound too hard or the chicken might break apart.

Season each piece of chicken with salt, granulated garlic and pepper. Arrange the chicken with the smooth side down on a work surface.

Lay a slice of prosciutto on each piece of chicken. Then lay down 2 halves of the provolone and 2 basil leaves. Carefully roll up the chicken, keeping it snug as you work, until it is tube-shaped. Tie 2 pieces of butcher’s twine around each piece to keep it together. Trim the loose ends of twine. Lightly brush each rolled piece with olive oil.

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the chicken over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until golden on all sides, about 12 minutes, turning a quarter turn every 3 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the tomato sauce.

Remove the twine from each chicken piece, cut into slices and serve warm on a pool of sauce. Garnish with torn basil leaves.

Enjoy with family members who don’t get suspicious when you do something nice.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

terry castle July 14, 2010 at 8:32 am

Tom cooks for me at least three times a week. But we are so different. I am a mess, tasting and making shit up. He works from a recipe, cleans as he cooks and takes forever to make the simplest thing.

But, I have to say, when someone else is doing the cooking…

Missed you. Glad to be back. love your new digs…miss the old picture.


grace July 15, 2010 at 1:48 am

‘Enjoy with family members who don’t get suspicious when you do something nice.’
this is a fancy-looking yet doable dish–excellent choice and execution. :)


Tiffany July 15, 2010 at 6:09 pm

That sounds very yummy…and I can’t wait to hear how his dinner went!!


~Laura July 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm

You just gave me one of this week’s selections. And that husband of yours, he’s a keeper! I think I’d faint from that offer!


camilla July 19, 2010 at 2:51 am

That is so exciting…….and the chicken look delicious! Have I totally missed the rest of the story? I haven’t had a chance to get online for a while…..


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