Thursday, September 13, 2012

Carino's Chicken Milano

If you knew the whole story of our first date, you'd be as amazed as I am that my husband and I are actually married.  For now, suffice it to say I was an immature 20 year old who had literally never been on a date.  We went to Carino's Italian and my future husband ordered the same thing he always gets (a habit he has most places we go)- Chicken Milano with Fettuccine Alfredo on the side.  I can't remember the last time we ate at Carino's, so when I asked him yesterday if he wanted Parmesan Chicken for dinner (for the 1,000th time) or Chicken Milano, he excitedly answered the latter.  Here's my riff on one of his favorites.  
Carino's Chicken Milano
serves 4, but easily adjusted

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 thin slices ham
1/2 cup shredded cheese- provolone or mozzarella
12 leaves fresh basil
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper 
Prepare your chicken by making "pockets" for the filling: Holding chicken flat on your cutting board with palm of one hand, make an incision in thicker side of each breast with a paring knife. Carefully pivot the knife to create a deep pocket, keeping the other side of the chicken breast intact.  If you do what I did and poke a hole in the bottom of the chicken, simply layer in your ham first so the cheese doesn't ooze out.  Fill the pocket with one slice of ham, about 2 tbs cheese, and 3 basil leaves.  Fill each chicken breast and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until browned on both sides, 6 to 7 minutes per side.
Cover skillet, and continue cooking until chicken is opaque throughout and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 160 degrees. about 5 minutes more.  When your chicken is finished cooking, you will be left with a beautiful pan full of browned bits and lots of goodness.  Feel free to add a 1/2 cup of chicken stock or white wine to that pan and let it bubble and reduce a bit and then spoon it over the chicken. 
Serve with Fettuccine Alfredo and thank the Lord on my behalf that my husband still wanted to marry me after that horrendous first date. 

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