Spinach & Prosciutto Chicken Roll-Ups

published Apr 20, 2021
Spinach & Prosciutto Chicken Roll-Ups

This creamy, deeply flavored chicken dish is amazing served over egg noodles or rice pilaf.

Serves4

Prep30 minutes

Cook1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes

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chicken rollups on a plate with asparagus
Credit: Photo: Kristin Teig; Food Styling: Catrine Kelty

This creamy, deeply flavored chicken dish is truly something special. My best friend’s mom used to make it for us when we were kids, and I had completely forgotten about it until my friend made it for us recently. Just one bite reminded me of its magic: the spinach-stuffed roll-ups are browned in butter, braised in wine, then finished with cream to create a rich and silky sauce. It’s everything I crave in a classic, home-cooked meal.

I desperately needed the recipe, so I asked my friend to make it again alongside me. We put our kids down for a long nap, popped open a bottle of red, and got to work. I had assumed there was some secret ingredient or fancy technique involved, but the ingredient list is surprisingly short, and the process is easy. Sure, it takes a little time, but your patience will be rewarded with a seriously comforting and delicious dinner. I love it alongside rice pilaf, egg noodles, or fresh pasta.

Credit: Photo: Kristin Teig; Food Styling: Catrine Kelty

Prepping the Chicken Breasts

Before filling the chicken breasts, you’ll need to pound them to an even 1/4-inch thickness and then slice them in half lengthwise. Even if your grocery store offers “thinly sliced” breasts, you’ll still need to pound them — you really want quite thin pieces to roll with. If you like, you can use small pounded veal cutlets instead, which is how I ate these growing up.

After filling, rolling, and tying the chicken, you’ll brown the roll-ups on all sides in butter. Not only does this give the chicken great flavor, but it also creates the base for a deeply delicious sauce. Just be sure to watch the butter carefully and adjust the temperature as needed. You’re looking for a deep nutty brown, but not burnt.

Spinach & Prosciutto Chicken Roll-Ups

This creamy, deeply flavored chicken dish is amazing served over egg noodles or rice pilaf.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) package

    frozen spinach

  • 1

    medium sweet or yellow onion

  • 3 to 4 ounces

    sliced prosciutto

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

  • 4

    large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 to 2 3/4 pounds total)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups

    dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, plus more as needed

  • 1 1/2 cups

    heavy cream

  • Cooked egg noodles, pasta, or rice pilaf, for serving

Instructions

  1. Thaw 16 ounces frozen spinach according to package directions. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel, roll it up in the towel, and squeeze out all excess moisture. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and push it to one side a little.

  2. Coarsely chop 1 medium sweet or yellow onion and add to the food processor. Add 3 to 4 ounces prosciutto and 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, if using. Process until the mixture is like a thick pesto sauce, smooth, and a bit sticky, stopping and using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.

  3. Cut 16 (12-inch long) pieces of kitchen twine. Pound 4 chicken breasts: Working with 1 breast at a time, place inside a gallon zip-top bag and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Pound with the flat side of a meat mallet, rolling pin, or small skillet to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with remaining breasts.

  4. Arrange the chicken on a cutting board smooth-side down and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Halve each breast lengthwise. Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the spinach filling onto each piece, leaving a bit of a border around the edges. You will have filling leftover, and that will be added to the sauce later.

  5. Starting at a short end, roll up each piece tightly into a coil. Tie 2 pieces of kitchen twine around each cutlet to secure. Cut off any extra twine. Transfer the roll ups to a large plate.

  6. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a 10-inch high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half the roll ups and sear until browned on a few sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Return to the plate and sear the remaining roll ups.

  7. Add 1 1/2 cups dry white wine to the pan and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Add more wine if needed to come about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the chicken.

  8. Cover with the lid just slightly ajar and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, add the remaining spinach filling, and gently stir to combine. Flip the chicken, cover again with the lid slightly ajar, and simmer for 15 minutes more.

  9. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board or plate. Cut and remove all the twine. Add 1 1/2 cups heavy cream to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan and simmer until the flavors meld, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and sauce and season with kosher salt as needed. Serve the chicken and sauce over cooked rice pilaf, egg noodles, or pasta if desired.

Recipe Notes

Using veal: 8 small, pounded veal cutlets can be used in place of the chicken.

Make ahead: The filling can be made up to 4 hours ahead. The chicken can be pounded and cut up to 1 day ahead.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.