In the mid-20th century, America was falling in love with all things Italy. On stage, we swooned over Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Tony Bennett. In sports, we idolized Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Rocky Marciano. On screen, we adored Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday.
And at dinner, we devoured spaghetti, ravioli and minestrone.
Since then, we’ve explored this country’s rich culinary heritage. We’ve discovered the nuances of its regional dishes. What’s more, we’ve learned that despite its notoriety for more than 400 cheeses and 300 sausages, the flavors of its cucina are surprisingly pure and confident … emanating from the simplest and freshest local ingredients. Taste it for yourself. Our current favorite is the Saltimbocca recipe below.
Chicken Saltimbocca with Asparagus
Courtesy of Food & Wine
One of the most classic Roman dishes, whose name means “jump in the mouth.” This tantalizing combination of veal, prosciutto and sage may not literally jump in your mouth, though when you look at your empty plate, it may seem as if it did. This variation from Mario Batali is made with tender chicken and vibrant fresh asparagus.
Total Time: 45 minutes
1 pound thick asparagus
Eight 3-ounce chicken cutlets, pounded to 1/8-inch thick
16 sage leaves
8 slices of prosciutto
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup vin santo
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Cook the asparagus in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Pat dry.
- Season the cutlets with salt and pepper and place 2 sage leaves on each cutlet. Wrap each cutlet in a slice of prosciutto, pressing to adhere. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in flour, dusting off the excess. Transfer to a baking sheet.
- Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the rack. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and chicken.
- Add the vin santo and stock to the skillet and boil over moderately high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, 4 minutes. Whisk in the butter. Pour half of the sauce into a bowl. Add half of the chicken and asparagus to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until hot, 2 minutes. Season with salt; stir in half of the parsley. Transfer the chicken and asparagus to plates and pour the sauce on top. Repeat with the remaining sauce, chicken, asparagus and parsley.
Suggested pairing – an earthy Tuscan red like the Collezione di Paolo ‘Verso Cielo’ 2011.
So pour yourself a cherry-laced Tuscan Red and get cooking.
Bring the charm of a Roman Holiday home.
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