If you listen to the stories of countless immigrants regardless of country of origin, you will hear different stories with very common threads:
- The iron will to make a new, better life
- The desire to assimilate and become successful in American culture
- A careful preservation of heritage and traditions revolving around family, holidays and food
I am a 4th generation American. America is my home and I am grateful to live here. My ancestors hailed from Italy, Ireland and Germany. I married a 3rd generation Italian American. My husband and I have a passion for Italian American food. This cuisine, above all others, comforts, nourishes, and brings back the old and welcomes new memories with our families as we cook.
One of my favorite comfort foods growing up, which was served only during holidays, is Braciole, (pronounced bra-zschOL). If you have a thick Chicago accent, change the pronunciation to (bra-ZHALLL), accent on the “all” part of the word. Braciole is a meat roll-up that has been browned in oil, then allowed to finish cooking in a tomato sauce. As a little girl, my Papa would make braciole and meatballs and let them simmer in tomato sauce. We would eat them over a heavy pasta we referred to as “sinkers.”
I took this memory, coupled with a recipe from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane to make a variation of this dish using chicken and prosciutto. This cookbook was also the inspiration behind another one of my recipes, Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini.
I hope you enjoy this updated version of braciole as much as we do!
Chicken and Prosciutto Braciole with Whine Wine Mushroom Sauce
Original recipe from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large garlic clove, finely minced (optional)
1/4 c. freshly grated Romano cheese
1/4 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. fresh parsley, (1 T. set aside for garnish)
4 thin slices prosciutto
2 T unsalted butter
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 c. white wine
8 oz.mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used white button mushrooms, but you can get creative)
1/4 c. chicken broth
2-3 T unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Pound chicken breasts to 1/4″ thickness. Sprinkle each chicken breast with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now, place the smoothest side of each chicken breast down, facing the cutting board you are working on. Spread a little garlic over the “rough side” of each piece of chicken (if using). Then, sprinkle each chicken breast evenly with both cheeses and parsley. Place a single, thin slice of prosciutto over each chicken breast. Roll up each piece of chicken, tucking the filling as you go. Secure each chicken breast with 2-3 toothpicks.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 T unsalted butter & 2 T olive oil. Swirl in pan until butter is melted and oil is hot. Add chicken roll-ups, browning slightly on each side. Work in 2 batches if necessary to give each chicken enough space in the pan to brown.
Transfer browned chicken to a medium-sized baking dish. Place baking dish in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
While chicken is baking, drain any excess fat from the skillet. Return the unwashed pan to the stove over medium heat. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to high and add mushrooms. Continue to stir the mushrooms and wine, 5-8 minutes longer, over high heat. Stir in chicken broth and reduce heat to low once sauce begins to thicken. Just before serving, stir 2-3 T unsalted butter into the sauce to finish.
Once chicken comes out of oven, remove toothpicks if you are a nice cook, transfer to serving dish and spoon white wine mushroom sauce on top. Sprinkle with reserved fresh parsley.