Ciao Italia Family Classics
Mary Ann returns to her family's humble beginnings to bring us a treasure trove of more than 200 time-honored recipes.
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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am in the kitchen many days before making preparations so the holiday dinner runs as smoothly as possible. On our table, traditional turkey has given way to a stuffed turkey breast, prepared the way Italians like to have it in Perugia, the capital of Umbria. The beauty of this recipe is that it can be made two days ahead and reheated or served at room temperature.
2/3 pound whole chestnuts
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/4 pound prosciutto, diced
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
One 4-pound turkey breast, butterflied
Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. With a small knife, make an X in the top of each chestnut. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, or until the skins split. Remove and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 400ºF.
Crack the chestnuts open with a nutcracker and remove the nutmeats. Coarsely chop the nutmeats and put in a large bowl.
In a skillet, heat ¼ cup of the olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and fry until lightly browned. Add to the chestnuts.
Add 1 more tablespoon of the oil to the skillet, and sauté the prosciutto until crispy. Add to the bread crumbs. Add the rosemary, parsley, garlic, cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the oil and mix well. (The stuffing can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Lay the turkey breast out flat on a cutting board. Place a large piece of wax paper over the turkey and pound it with a meat pounder to flatten it to an even thickness. Rub the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the turkey breast to within 1 inch of the edges. Do not worry if all of the stuffing does not fit; save any excess for topping the breast after it is rolled.
Starting at a long side, roll the turkey up like a jelly roll and tie it with string in four or five places.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Brown the turkey roll on all sides. Transfer the turkey roll to a rack in a roasting pan and add the pan juices from the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and pat on any remaining stuffing over the top.
Add ½ cup of wine to the pan. Roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 175º to 180ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Baste the meat occasionally with the pan juices, adding the remaining 1 cup wine to the pan halfway through the cooking time.
Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before slicing it. Then cut the roll into ½-inch slices, arrange them on a platter, and pour any pan juices over the meat. Serve hot, or let cool completely and serve at room temperature.
This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., in 1995.
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