Boneless chicken breasts are wrapped in thin slices of pancetta, the Italian unsmoked bacon, with sage leaves tucked in between. Then the breasts are slowly sautéed until the pancetta turns beautiful shades of gold and brown and lightly crisp. When you taste it, the chicken is tender and juicy and its mild flavor is punched up by the pronounced taste of sage and the slightly salty pancetta.
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 7 ounces each
- 8 large fresh sage leaves
- 8 very thin slices pancetta (6 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1. Dry chicken on paper towels. Season lightly with pepper (the pancetta supplies the salt). Lay rounded side up. Place 2 leaves of sage, separated by at least 1 inch, on each. Wrap 2 slices of pancetta around each breast with edges next to each other but not overlapping. Press to adhere.
2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over low heat. Add chicken rounded side down and cook until pancetta fat is light gold, 6 to 7 minutes (the pancetta will be darker brown). Turn and cook until golden and brown on the bottom and just cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes.
3. Serve right away.
Replace the fresh sage with ¾ teaspoon dried rubbed sage, sprinkling it over the breasts before wrapping them.
Dressing Chicken Breasts with Pancetta and Sage Up
Just the tiniest bit of pan juices on top of the chicken make the dish seem a little fancy. To make them, pour off the fat in the pan once the breasts are removed, then add ¼ cup water and 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice. Reduce them, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon, to 2 to 3 flavorful tablespoons. Drizzle over the breasts.
Arugula salad, baked acorn squash, or Baked Spinach with Garlic Bread Crumbs. Crusty Italian bread or soft polenta if not serving the squash.