Mum didn’t enjoy school, because she found it difficult to read and write. It is only now that she realises it is due to her dyslexia. Back then, they just thought she was slow.
She recalls the time when she and her friend, Quaranta, decided to have a picnic rather than attend school. Each scavaging their own food of bread, salami and wine, they spent a leisurely morning in their den. On returning home, my grandfather, Nonno Carlo, asked if she had enjoyed her time at school. Affirming the positive, Mum saw his face change as he started to take off his belt to ‘teach her a lesson’ – he had found out! He reneged, sending her to her room and requesting she read her history book ready for the next day. On reciting Gli Uomini Primitive (the cavemen) the following day in front of the class, she was given “Girl of the Year” prize for an outstanding effort. She kept that learning all her life – “Always Do Your Best” is now her motto.
This Mozzarella Chicken Breasts recipe requires little effort for an outstanding result.
4 chicken breasts * 1 shallot, chopped * 2 eggs, beaten * 3 tbsp olive oil * 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped * 1 mozzarella cheese ball, sliced into 4 * 115g (4oz) fresh breadcrumbs * 30g (1oz) butter * 115g (4oz) plain flour * salt & pepper * 8 cocktail sticks
Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4. Open up breasts by slicing them in the middle, but do not cut them into two. Brush the insides with a little beaten egg. Then sprinkle the insides with salt, pepper, parsley, shallot and add a piece of mozzarella. Ease the top slice of the chicken breast back into place. Secure each breast with 2 cocktail sticks. Set three plates up and set out the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs on each. Dredge the chicken breast all over in flour. Dip the floured breast into the beaten egg, then dip the breasts into the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and seal the breasts on all sides. Allow to colour up to a golden brown. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and finish cooking in a moderate oven for approximately 15 minutes. Serve whole as a meal with French beans and potatoes or sliced with quartered lemon for a buffet party.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.