The retirement of the family that owned Niccolino’s, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the charming northern California town of Cotati, inspired me to honor them with a variation on their traditional veal saltimbocca recipe.
The owner Nick does a piece of veal better than I ever could, so I opt for chicken in this version. I also like it's more substantial profile when it comes time to match up against the spinach and prosciutto.
This enticing dish is always a crowd-pleaser at my dinner table.
4 chicken cutlets, pounded evenly
1½ cups fresh spinach
4 slices prosciutto
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1½ teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
1½ teaspoons pepper, divided
1½ teaspoons salt, divided
Juice from one lemon
4 toothpicks or kitchen twine
Rinse and pat dry spinach. Toss in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Lay out flattened cutlets and season with remaining salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto over each piece of chicken and arrange several spinach leaves on top. Sprinkle with rosemary and Parmesan cheese.
Beginning at the shorter end, carefully roll up cutlets, keeping stuffing tucked inside. Depending of the shape the cutlets took while pounding, secure with either a toothpick or tie together with string.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Add stock and lemon juice and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 4-5 minutes longer, until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken and set aside to rest. Remove toothpicks or string before serving. Increase heat and stir sauce until it reduces to about 2/3 cup, about 5 more minutes. Drizzle sauce over chicken or serve alongside.