I’ve been asked to take part in a challenge to create a recipe using San Daniele ham and Grana Padano cheese, and here it is: pinwheel chicken. It looks lovely on the plate – and it’s a lot easier to make than it appears.
The secret is to make a ‘sandwich out of a butterflied chicken breast, by adding a layer of sage leaves on the inside and San Daniele ham slices on the outside, then wrapping it up tightly.
I cooked this in a Sous Vide water bath for 2 hours, but if you don’t have one, simply wrap the chicken parcel in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and gently simmer in a pan of water for 45 mins, then finish off in the frying pan. This was lovely with some spaghetti, mixed with a lemony cream sauce made with grated Grana Padano cheese.
2 chicken breasts
6-8 sage leaves
4 thin San Daniele ham slices
Freshly ground black pepper
A handful of spaghetti, fresh or dried, boiled in salted water (if fresh, 3-4 mins;; if dried, 8-9 mins)
300ml double cream
50g Grana Padano cheese, grated
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Put two sheets of plastic wrap (if using) on a chopping board. Lay the San Daniele ham slices on the plastic wrap. Butterfly the chicken breasts by slicing across and through the middle and opening them up, like butterfly wings. Lay the chicken on top of the ham, then lay the sage leaves on top of the chicken.
2. Tightly wrap the chicken into cylindrical parcels. Seal in a Sous Vide vacuum machine, or tightly wrap and tie up the plastic wrap. Cook in a Sous Vide water bath, set to 67.5C for two hours, or in a pan of simmering water for 45 mins.
3. Once the time is up, snip open the Sous Vide vac-pack or plastic wrap. Add a splash of olive oil to a frying pan and brown the cooked parcels all over for approx. 2-3 mins.
4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling, salted water.
5. In a small saucepan, add the double cream, Grana Padano, lemon and pepper. Gently heat through until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is silky. Drain the pasta and pour the sauce over and use tongs to mix together.
6. Slice the chicken into 2.5cm thick pinwheels. Serve on top of the creamy spaghetti.
• This challenge is part of a campaign to promote the ‘Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) – The taste of origin and tradition’. It has been launched in partnership with the Consortium of Prosciutto di San Daniele and the Consortium of Grana Padano Cheese, funded by the EU and Italian government. I haven’t been paid for this post, but the ham and cheese was sent to me for recipe development purposes.
• Some facts about San Daniele ham: it originates in the central region of Northern Italy and is made from the pork from pigs that weigh a minimum of 160kg. Recommended serving suggestions are on its own or with bread.
• Some facts about Grana Padano cheese: it originates in Italy’s Po Valley and is made from partially skimmed raw milk. Younger cheeses are aged for 9-16 months and have a sweet, tangy taste. Older cheeses are aged for more than 20 months. You can eat it on its own with salad or as a snack, or grated or flaked with risotto, pasta, meat and fish.