An artichoke aficionado, a devout lover of roasted tomatoes. A crazed fanatic of kalamata olives. Heck, I'm an antipasto freak. Italian cheeses, meats, and marinated vegetables...it's all so divine. I can vividly remember a lavish new years eve party several years ago that made me the antipasto admirer that I am today. Amongst the many tasty cuisine stations, there was a 3 ft. long and 3 tier high bar overflowing with the tangy, salty, and creamy bites. Ever since, I take any chance to make salads, sandwiches, and smorgasbords inspired by the Italian pre-dinner treats.
I eat a lot of chicken. However, the bird can get pretty boring. Experimenting with sauces, seasonings, toppings, and sides, chicken stays pretty interesting in my home.
One of my absolute favorite ways to prepare chicken is to stuff it with ingredients like spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, basil, etc. My best-loved stuffed chicken is...you know what's coming...antipasto inspired. The sharp saltiness of the olives and prosciutto combined with the sweet tomatoes and mildly tangy artichokes...it's just so scrumptious. I usually make it sans the cheese but the photos you'll see are of my boyfriend's plate with a sprinkling of feta...he always insists.
Antipasto Style Stuffed Chicken Breasts
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1 cup roasted tomatoes (You can roast your own or buy already roasted from most grocery stores)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 pound Prosciutto, chiffonade cut (in strips)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried Thyme
2 tsp. dried Oregano
1/3 cup Reduced Balsamic
1/3 cup Feta or Parmesan cheese (optional)
4 Tbsp. EVOO
Salt and pepper
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 tablespoon EVOO to medium heat. Add minced garlic, artichokes, prosciutto, and tomatoes. Saute for 3 minutes and then set aside.
3. Carefully cut a "pocket" in each chicken breast. Using a large, sharp knife, cut down the middle of the breast- lengthwise, without cutting all the way through the other side.
3. Season your chicken breasts with thyme, oregano, and salt and pepper.
4. Stuff each chicken breast with the tomato, artichoke, and prosciutto filling. You may have some leftover filling depending on how generously you stuff your chicken.
5. In a large pan, bring 2 tablespoon EVOO to medium high heat. When oil begins to sizzle, add the chicken breasts.
6. Brown chicken on each side for about 3 minutes. Then, transfer the chicken to a casserole dish (if pan isn't oven safe) and put on the middle rack of your oven.
7. Cook chicken for 25 minutes in the oven.
8. While chicken is cooking, add 3/4 cup of Balsamic vinegar to a small pot and cook on high until it's reduced to a syrupy glaze.
9. Plate your chicken. Drizzle balsamic and sprinkle cheese on top.