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Pollo alla Valdostana con insalata di fagioli e pesto

Pollo alla Valdostana con insalata di fagioli e pesto
(Val d'Aosta chicken with a bean salad and pesto)

I've had some remarkable meals cooked by Roberto, he's a stickler for quality ingredients and for attention to detail in his cooking. This recipe, from Italy's furthest Northwest, is not very far from his own native Ligurian coast. Obviously coming from there he was going to include pesto, but do try to get basil that isn't hot-house grown, it tends to be flavourless.

wine suggestions:
white: Pigato Calvini from Liguria or Alhambra Spadafora from Sicily

red: Barbera Veglio from Piemonte or Raboso Cescon from Veneto

La Dolce Vita, Main Street, Wexford. Tel. 053 70806

Serves:  4


4 large supreme of chicken with skin on
8 slices of Parma ham
thin slices of Fontina cheese
220gr green beans
1 tin canellini beans strained and rinsed
1 tin borlotti beans strained and rinsed
1 red onion thinly sliced
6/8 sundried tomatoes thinly sliced
flat parsley roughly chopped
juice of one lime

for the pesto
200gr basil
olive oil as necessary
3 cloves garlic
1 tbs pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

for the flavoured oil
extra virgin olive oil
crushed garlic
some chilli flakes
salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the flavoured oil by lightly heating oil and infusing with the garlic, rosemary and chilli. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to infuse for 15/20 mins, strain and leave to cool.

Grill the chicken on a griddle on the skin side for one minute and allow to cool. when cool cut the chicken lengthways to open a pocket and insert Parma ham and Fontina in layers. close and hold together with a toothpick. cook at 180c for 20-25 mins until firm.

Prepare the pesto by blending together basil olive oil pine nuts until smooth. Prepare salad by tossing all ingredients into the flavoured oil Rectify seasoning by adding lime juice, salt and pepper.

To serve arrange salad on side of plate, cut chicken in half and drizzle with pesto as per photo.

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