I have two birthday dinners that were, at different times in my life, my go-to birthday treat. I have previously written about an amazing Shrimp & Gorgondola Dip that was one of my birthday traditions. This Easy Chicken Valdostana is the other birthday ritual dish that I would have when my mom came to visit me.
Neither of us was familiar with this Northern Italian dish and ordered it on a whim. We were completely blown away. It was everything you want in a chicken entree. The chicken was tender, there was cheese, ham (more on that later), it was saucy but you couldn't quite figure out the ingredients. We ate. In silence. The food was too good to talk. We were focused on our eating. It was a yearly treat I would anticipate starting months before my actual birthday.
Are you an eater or a diner?
Food memories. We all have them. I mean, people who love eating great food have them. I get there are "eaters" and "diners" out there in the world. The eaters eat because their bodies need fuel and will die without it. It's a daily requirement that fills a physiological need. Eating is not celebrated, but a rote task performed a couple times a day. Food is nothing special. It could be a perfectly grilled ribeye steak with gourmet potatoes au gratin or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You would get the same response from an eater: "It was fine."
Diners, on the other hand, are in love with food and eating. Meals are an experience whether eating out or cooking at home. The ingredients are planned and thought about. The food is to be revered. There is a true appreciation for the culinary arts. Diners have a lot of food memories and stories. They live for their next meal. They spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food. Obviously, I'm a diner. And if you're visiting a website about food and cooking, you probably are too!
I don't like prosciutto. There, I said it. Ham works great for this.
Sorry, but prosciutto is slimy and weird and gross. Also, it's quite expensive. Black forest ham is absolutely wonderful as a substitute. I realize this will make some people cringe, but that's okay. Cringe away prosciutto lovers with your slimy uncooked fancy pants ham! C'mon, I've got to have some fun writing this! The rest of us will be delighted with black forest. I think I've sufficiently addressed the prosciutto vs ham issue so let's move on!
Feel free to kick it up a notch with additional flavors too. For example, after you've cooked the chicken and removed it from the pan, throw in some diced garlic and shallots if you want. Mushrooms too if you're a mushroom person.
Sides that go well with this dish: mashed potatoes, sautéed veggies, or a side salad.Print