This Is How We Roll


How many of you cookbook collectors out there picked up a copy of The Silver Spoon last year only to leave the behemoth languishing on your bookshelf to gather dust. I confess that I did.

The massive tome, dubbed Italy's version of The Joy of Cooking, is omnivorous, taking in anything and everything from traditional regional pastas like Liguria's pansotti to riso al cury con gamberi ("rice with curry sauce and shrimp").

I recently hauled the big book down from the shelf, and while leafing through it came across a simple recipe for involtini di pollo alla salvia, chicken breasts rolled with sage and wrapped in pancetta. There's no no end to the possibilities for rolling (and no less than 22 involtini recipes in The Silver Spoon), but this is a particularly inspired combination. And, how could you go wrong with anything that's wrapped in bacon?

Kitchen Notes: The addition of mushrooms here is not in the original recipe. I used oyster mushrooms, but you could use any combination of wild mushrooms. The directions in book call for cooking the chicken in the pan while covered for 20 minutes once you have browned it on all sides. This went against my usual technique of browning and then slipping the chicken into the oven to cook through. But, I followed the recipe, and it worked well (though I would like to try the other method in the future). Finally, I used very thinly sliced pancetta, which was on the verge of falling apart by the end of the cooking process. Next time, I would try it sliced thicker.

Involtini di Pollo alla Salvia (Chicken Breasts Rolled with Sage and Wrapped in Pancetta)
Adapted from the The Silver Spoon (Phaidon Press)

Serves 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
12 fresh sage leaves
4 ounces sliced pancetta
two handfuls of oyster mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Butterfly and pound each chicken breast with a mallet until thin and season with salt and pepper.

2. Lay two sage leaves on each breast and then roll each.

3. Lay a sage leaf on top of each roll and cover with the pancetta slices. Insert toothpicks to hold the rolls together.

4. Heat a pan to medium high, add olive oil, and when hot, add the chicken, browning on all sides.

5. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until done (add a little water of the pan dries out).

6. Remove the chicken to a plate and remove the toothpicks, pour off any fat that remains, heat to high and saute the mushrooms, scraping all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as they cook.

7. After two to three minutes, when the mushrooms have become tender and golden, spoon them over the chicken rolls.



I received the Silver Spoon for my birthday last November, and cooked my non-traditional Christmas dinner from it. I started with a small informal antipasto of the Parmesan cheese cookies (essentially, Southern cheese straws made with parmesan) in the book, had white anchovies with crostini, and some celery. Then we had Mark Bittman's spaghetti and cabbage. Then we had these chicken rolls, which I served with an eminently forgettable vegetable. I forget what I made for dessert, but I know for a fact it was from The Silver Spoon cookbook. All in all, a wonderfully balanced meal that did not overpower anyone. Wonderful to see that particular recipe called out here!


oh, I adore that cookbook! it may be big, but it is one of my absolute go-to books. I'm very happy that the weather is getting a little cooler and more "silver spoon" friendly. there's a wonderful blog I found called Exploring The Silver Spoon (
the woman that writes it is going through recipe by recipe and blogging her experiences and modifications to the recipes
she posts lightly, but they're always informative!


My friend was supposed to give me a copy, but I declined. Now, I think I have to force her to give it to me. The dish looks good.


I just got this code for the Time Out eating event on Tuesday. I went last year, and there’s a bunch of restaurants giving out free food, cool music and there’s a couple of open bars for the whole night. There’s a coupon code (TONYVIP) you enter at check out so you can get them for 20% off your tickets if you buy them before Tuesday. It’s a really fun event, and I think you get a gift bag and a free subscriptions, too.


I must confess that I got the book as a gift last Christmas and have yet to use it. However, on a recent trip to Italy for a wedding, all of the Italian wives were suggesting Ada Boni's "Il Talismano Della Felicita" as THE BIBLE of Italian cooking. The next day they presented me with a copy. It's in Italian and lucky for me that I can read/understand it. If you are collecting, add this one to your Christmas '06 list.


My friend has a copy but he won't let me have it. Guess I have to bribe him. Haha! The chicken looks delicious. Yum!


Good! The looks delicious!


Looks like a good Xmas gift for someone. Hunter Cashdollar


Oh, and speaking of LA in NYC, have you heard that there is a JavaJuice in the Whole Foods in Columbus Circle? More are apparently on the way. I'm really hoping for an In n' Out Burger on the east coast soon!


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