The inspiration for this recipe comes from a recipe I found on Williams-Sonoma's website for provolone and pancetta-stuffed chicken breasts. The main elements of the dish are the same; I just skipped the whole breading and freezing part of the original recipe.
This was an absolutely outstanding meal. It was very easy to put together, but it looked very fancy and like it took hours to make. This is a meal I would definitely entertain with. The chicken was so moist, and the flavor and texture of the stuffing was out of this world. The tangy provolone, the salty pancetta, the woodsy, heady sage, the sharp garlic...It was the perfect balance of flavors and textures. I didn't miss the breading at all, although I'm sure it would have been delicious. I think this one's definitely going into the regular rotation!
Provolone- and Pancetta-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Source: adapted from Williams-Sonoma
6 ounces pancetta, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded 1/2-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 ounces aged provolone cheese, grated
1. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm a small amount of 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.
2. 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 a some of the cheese and a portion of the pancetta mixture.
3. In a wide, oven-safe pan over medium high heat, heat some more olive oil. Fry the chicken until crisp and browned on each side. Transfer to a 350° oven and cook chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes.