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.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine LaRocque July 12, 2010 at 6:50 am

How I long for my husband to learn how to cook. I mean, I LOVE to cook, but a break from something you even love would be welcome wouldn’t it? And my husband, well he would cook, but it would mean hot dogs and kraft dinner or some other frozen delicacy. So I let him mow the lawn and I keep cooking. Sigh.


Jennifer July 12, 2010 at 6:55 am

That looks amazing. I would love it. And I bet it is really good with spinach.


rebecca@ altared spaces July 12, 2010 at 7:06 am

Okay…maybe. I’m a horrid griller. But I’ve got to do something. You’re inspiring me. Here’s my questions: When I’ve pounded meat before I’m a tearer. Broken meat all over the place. And the saran…what’s up with that? Do I put the meat between 2 pieces of saran or just lay it on one? Told you I needed help. At least I’ll allow everyone else’s questions to look brilliant by comparison.

And one more thing: what does it mean: remove the tenders??

Glad I’ve got you. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Lyndsey July 12, 2010 at 8:29 am

Yum, it looks good, I love making chicken like this I usually stuff it with feta and spinach, just because that’s usually what I have in the house. I will have to try it this way (when I plan for it) .

I would act the same way if my husband ever offered to do what yours just did. The worst part of cooking everyday each week is the meal planning. I always have to decide what to make. I was just asking at breakfast this morning what they wanted for dinner this week. His response was Hmmm….I don’t know …let me think about it. Yeah, I know! :P


M @ Betty Crapper July 12, 2010 at 8:31 am

Love this post. My favorites: naughty children, bitchy like that, and suspicious much. I can’t wait to see what he cooked and most especially his motive. The chicken dish looks wonderful too.


jc July 12, 2010 at 8:59 am

Who is he and what has he done with your hubby? I say keep him. for now.

that looks delish.


C @ Kid Things July 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

My husband cooks, although as yours, it mostly consists of browning a chunk of meat. Though he can make a good chili. Everything else is up to me.


J. Harker July 12, 2010 at 9:21 am

Horray for useful husbands! Horray for cooking!


Jen July 12, 2010 at 9:40 am

I too hate to plan what is for dinner. I don’t mind making it, I just hate planning it.


Bonnie July 12, 2010 at 9:45 am

Yum on the recipe! Kudos on the “husband cooks”! I realized years ago that, even though I was a stay-at-home mom, I worked many, many more hours than my husband did sooooooo, I told him he’d have to do some of the cooking and, finally, he agreed. It has worked well. So well, that I turned his laundry over to him but that’s another story.



Cathy July 12, 2010 at 9:55 am

Okay – first let me say, I am definitely going to make this recipe. It looks awesome and easy.

Secondly, I feel your pain with the planning aspect of dinner. And, too often I get into a rut of the same stuff – how many times a week can you have grilled chicken with salad? Way too many according to hubs.

Third, it’s a running joke in my family about hubs not ever cooking – and if he does, it’s in the smoker, on the grill, chili, or tater tots. That’s about it. Actually, he does make eggplant parm with my uncle on Thanksgiving. I guess that has to count!


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon July 12, 2010 at 10:01 am

I have to know how the story ends!!! And I also have to know how to cast this spell over The Mistah.


theUngourmet July 12, 2010 at 10:04 am

If my husband said he’d shop and prepare dinner once a week, well…I’d have to be admitted to the E.R. You see, I would have fainted and smacked my head on the edge of the counter before hitting the tile floor. ;D

How fun! I hope it works out well. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with. Your chicken looks divine! Looks like fine dining in the comfort of home to me. Yum!


Barbara July 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

You’ve got a winner there, my dear! It’s a gorgeous dish, very elegant, plates beautifully and I bet tastes divine.
And a winner with your hubby! Can’t wait to see what he comes up with. My ex didn’t cook, didn’t do dishes and frankly, never cared what he ate. Told me once hot dogs every day would do him fine. I didn’t believe it for a minute and luckily I had three kids who LOVED food and still do…and they all cook too.
And I am no longer married. And very happy ab0ut it too. :)


Jane July 12, 2010 at 10:17 am

Seriously? Plan, shop, cook AND clean up? Does he have a brother?


Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point July 12, 2010 at 10:24 am

This looks so gourmet good and sounds easy enough to prepare. I’m inspired as I’ve never rolled or stuffed chicken breast before.

I’d love to see a picture of your husband’s dish. How does he do under pressure?

My hubby is quite willing to cook , lucky me.


Sinful Southern Sweets July 12, 2010 at 10:49 am

I agree, I’d be a bit suspicious;) Looks seriously good!! I like the added bonus of the stress relief…I may need to make this for dinner


Anne@lifeinpencil July 12, 2010 at 10:50 am

Looks scrumptious! And I must know the details of his big dinner!!!


Jessica July 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Ok, I’m not gonna lie – my hubs does most of the cooking. He was a grill cook all through out high school and he’s just good at it. Way better than me – and the grill is totally his bitch.
From late March until early October it’s rare that I actually cook more than once a week.


Cheryl @ Mommypants July 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm

That looks delish! Unforunately, I don’t eat cow/pig. What can I use for a prosciutto replacement?

Oh – and my husband cooks most nights. Why? Because he had the choice of watching the kids while I cook OR cooking, himself. Guess which he chose?


Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts July 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Can’t wait for the details! GAP does all the cleaning up. But his cooking skills don’t really extend past a quesadilla.


soccermom July 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Im so excited to hear what hes gonna make.
I guess I luck out, my sportsman does most or all of the cooking in our house. Not that I dont know how. but I just dont enjoy doing it. I just enjoy eating it.YUM!

Great one for today. Ill put it on the sportsmans list to make me.

Love reading you btw.


Manisha July 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Wow! Maybe he should make a habit of it? Once every week? :-D


Contemporary Troubadour July 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I’m in one of those “I hate planning dinner” moods at the moment too — chalk it up to not having to plan it for a weekend. It only takes 48 hours and then I’m spoiled.

Am very interested in hearing how the dinner turned out. Is it bad that I read, “My husband walks into the kitchen while I’m riffling through cookbooks” and thought “Oo this is a set up for a joke!” …?


Phoo-d July 12, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I love chicken rolled around cheese and procciutto. This looks awesome, especially with the tomato sauce on the side. I can’t wait to see what he makes for dinner! Maybe he’s catching the kitchen bug after all?!


Lanita July 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Are our husbands related?


Bryan July 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Yum! Love this. Can’t say that there is anything better than pounding the snot out of a piece of meat after a tough day. Very therapeutic.


Bryan July 12, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Oh and sometimes it is ok to let the guy cook… I look forward to finding out how it goes


Corinne July 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Can’t wait to hear more :)
And that recipe looks delish… and so pretty.


ellemck1 July 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Please… impart your wisdom on how you got him to cook like that… I must learn for future reference. Please?


SuziCate July 12, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I wish I had checked your blog earlier today. I was searching for something different to do with chicken. Your recipe sounds way better than what I ended up making!


Aging Mommy July 12, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I can’t wait to hear about what your husband cooks and how it all turns out and please please please can we have photos too!


Maria July 12, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Aahh, the monotony of planning and cooking dinner EVERY BLESSED night…I get stuck too, mostly in items that are no-brainers and kid friendly but so BLAH…Will be trying this, sister…Thanks for the idea.

By the way, keep the Hubby imposter who offers to cook dinner. What’s the harm in experimenting, eh? Unless, of course, he burns down the kitchen. Then, that might be a problem…


Amber July 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Oh geez. This looks delish!

I hate making dinner plans as well. This has only gotten worse since Ben started working nights. Blah. Cooking for only me and two babies? Not so fun.


Privilege of Parenting July 12, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I love this recipe—it reminded me of a dish I used to make and then forgot about until now, using turkey breast with the same cathartic mallet-work and then layering prosciutto and a thin omelette. This was more winter-time I guess, browning it and then roasting it, but the slices were very pretty.

Looking forward to learning what the surprise meal from your husband will be.


Kelly July 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I would be suspicious, too. The running joke in this house is that if I didn’t cook, no one would eat. You’d think I was really good at it or something.

Can’t wait to hear the details!


Ingrid July 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Great chicken dish. Looking forward to trying it!


Stacia July 12, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I think I would bust the chicken to bits. I spend a lot of time chasing naughty children these days.


The Curious Cat July 13, 2010 at 2:49 am

Yet more inspiration for me to take with me to France! Yay! Sounds wicked! Also, I did your pears on Sunday -DELICIOUS!!! So so good- everyone loves them and I reckon that syrup would be yum on strawberries too! xxx


Romaine July 13, 2010 at 3:07 am

I’m impressed that Better Half would offer. Sounds like a keeper to me–just like this recipe. Sounds like something I could make without consulting the recipe after the first time. Those kind are my favorite.


From Belgium July 13, 2010 at 3:08 am

The only time my husband offered to cook was when I was mortally ill with a vicious flu.


Sarah July 13, 2010 at 4:10 am

You ARE bitchy like that, aren’t you? You’ve got us all salivating for the details of his dinner–success? or epic fail? And how much help did you REALLY have to give? I think you should have been sipping fresh cocktails outside with the girls while he was inside slaving away…


Eva @ Eva Evolving July 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

Man this looks good! Is it lunch time yet?? (Although frozen Lean Cuisine isn’t going to cut it after this!)


Shelley July 13, 2010 at 9:32 am

I’m lucky, I know. Bill will do the shopping, he’ll do the cooking and he’ll do the cleaning. He sometimes doesn’t feel up to deciding what to make and I’m happy to consult my routine list of proteins ( and throw out a few ideas. True, we don’t have gourmet meals around here, but cooking is not complex problem for us either.


Ink July 13, 2010 at 11:16 am

That is the most perfect final line ever!

Sounds like it was a delicious meal, too…


Justine July 13, 2010 at 11:48 am

I love a man who can (and will cook) but alas, mine isn’t one of them. At least not often. He does a meal every other week and it’s usually something that’s easy and that he’s familiar with like sausage and peppers or our recent new favorite, beer can chicken, but I love it when he takes charge and does everything – and they’re delicious to boot, so no complaints despite his tiny repertoire.

As much as I love to cook and that the kitchen is my domain (which means there will be a “bazillion questions” from him too – where’s the…? what is…?) it’s nice to have this break sometimes. It’s great that your Better Half is giving you that much deserved break. Can’t wait to hear more about what he does end up doing for you guys.


Erin July 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I can’t wait to hear how his dinner turns out! My trick was to get my husband into Bourdain & Alton Brown, so now he really enjoys taking a turn to cook. This chicken sounds like an easy and flavorful weeknight meal.


Tamar July 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm

You got him to cook? Wow! Can’t wait to hear what he cooks and how it comes out!

Love the chicken recipe, except for the tomato sauce. I’m sorry, but Americans use way too much red sauce in anything with the word “Italian” in it.


Mary Lee July 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I thought that in the Man Book, throwing something on the grill WAS preparing dinner. Can’t wait to hear this story, Bitchy One. He’s saying he’ll ask questions??? OMG! THAT’S not in the Man Book.

Did you ever date a chef? If so, did you like it or did it drive you crazy?

My Dearly Beloved has found a grocery which makes about 8 different kinds of chicken breast rolls. My favorite so far is the one with Arugula and Feta. He shops for it and grills it. I’ll take that anytime and call it “fixing dinner.”

I’ll show him this recipe in case he … WAIT! what am I saying? I’ll show it to the butcher! :)


Chiara July 14, 2010 at 2:35 am

Yum… that looks really good! Made me realize that I haven’t had chicken in a loooooong time, although I’m not sure why. Will have to try this, I even have my own basil plant to use!


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