Is it just me or does it not seem like recipes calling for special ingredients only need some of said ingredient and there is always a leftover that just sits in the fridge? So was the case recently with half a tub of mascarpone cheese, unneeded, unloved. Just coming home from a vacation in foodie Asheville, NC, with no time for grocery shopping, I went looking to create an inspired meal from what I had on hand, my favorite kind of cooking! Taking that lonely mascarpone, seasoning it with garlic, cutting fresh sage from the garden and adding sundried tomatoes from the pantry to chicken thighs from the freezer, we had a terrific tasty dinner in about a half hour. Adding whole wheat rotini and a side of heirloom cherry tomatoes balanced this Italian inspired meal. It sure wasn’t Asheville, but it was pretty good!
MASCARPONE SAGE and SUNDRIED TOMATO STUFFED CHICKEN THIGHS
9 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat, filleted so they lay flat
4 oz of mascarpone cheese
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
9 fresh sage leaves
9 sundried tomatoe halves, not in oil
9 slices of nitrate-free bacon, partially cooked and drained of fat
salt and freshly ground pepper
1) Preheat oven to 450 F
2) Line a baking sheet with foil. Lay down the 9 bacon strips. I partially cooked the bacon so it would end up crispy on the chicken. On top of each bacon strip, crosswise, lay the flattened chicken thighs. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
3) In a small bowl mix the mascarpone with the garlic, 1 t sea salt and 1/2 t pepper.
4) In the center of each thigh, place a teaspoon of the seasoned cheese, 1 sage leaf and one sundried tomato half. Starting at one end, roll the chicken into a bundle with the bacon on the outside. Secure with a toothpick and place seam down on the prepared baking sheet. Season with additional salt and pepper.
5) Roast on the lower rack of the oven for 20 minutes.