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A childhood favorite of Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, chicken saltimbocca is his pick for a quick & easy Valentine's Day dinner with big, unforgettable flavor. Finish off this date night meal with his classic Italian frozen dessert, Chocolate Semifreddo. On our show, Buddy's wife, Lisa, tackled the chicken saltimbocca, while Buddy covered dessert. Teamwork makes the dream work!
"I remember eating chicken saltimbocca in restaurants as a kid," Buddy says. "And when I started to learn how to cook, it's one of the first things I wanted to make because it seemed special and a little fancy to me. The name means "jump in the mouth," and that's no joke: It's another one of those dishes that really show off how little you need to do with the all-stars of Italian ingredients to make something memorable. Little stacks of chicken, mozzarella, prosciutto, and sage are seared in a pan, then a quick sauce of white wine, stock, and butter is made and poured over the chicken. That's it! It takes just a few minutes, but when those flavors melt together, it's magic."
Adapted from Cooking Italian With The Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro. Copyright © 2012 by Buddy Valastro. Used with permission by Atria Books. All rights reserved.
One by one, put the pieces of chicken between pieces of plastic wrap and lightly pound with a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan to a thickness of ⅛ inch.
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour.
Heat a wide, deep, heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and 2 tablespoons butter. When the butter has melted and is foamy, add 4 pieces of the chicken. Raise the heat to high and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Use tongs or a spatula to turn the pieces over and brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and repeat with the remaining prepared chicken.
When all the chicken has been cooked and removed from the pan, add the flour to the pan and stir until it comes together with the fat in a tan mixture. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, stirring, over high heat. Continue to boil until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes, continuing to stir to loosen up any flavorful bits cooked on the bottom of the pan. Add the stock to the pan, bring to a boil, and continue to boil until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter.
Lay a piece of mozzarella on top of each piece of cooked chicken, top with a sage leaf, then a slice of prosciutto. Add the stacks of chicken back to the pan with the sauce and cover with a lid. Simmer until the mozzarella is slightly melted and the chicken is cooked through. Serve family style with sauce poured over the chicken.