Fratelli Perata Winery

Green Cheese and Guanciale Chicken Thighs


We are fortunate that many good things come from the Piemonte region of Northern Italy. Some of these are chestnuts, great meats and chefs. Originally only in San Luis Obispo, Buona Tavola is a Piemonte inspired restaurant who opened a Paso Robles location several years ago. We are doubly fortunate that Chef Antonio Varia decided to also establish a salumerie, Alle-Pia Fine Cured Meats. His guanciale is very authentic and delicate, but if too exotic, non-Maple bacon would be ok. Chestnuts are from Piemonte, but mostly you can find only ones from China, an ok substitute. A run to Trader Joe’s takes care of the Pesto Gouda cheese, so all you need are some nice chicken thighs, which J&R Meats, in Templeton next to Trader Joe’s, or Costco, can supply. Snip a little rosemary from the garden and you are set. Roll up these chicken thighs and open up that Barbera.

8 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, pounded flat
4 ounces guanciale, cubed small, less than ˝ inch
1 – 150 gram package boiled chestnuts (Gefen, at Trader Joe’s), also chopped small
1 package bulk Pesto Gouda cheese (Trader Joe’s) around 4 ounces for the recipe
2 Tablespoons Rosemary, finely chopped
olive oil
non stick aluminum foil
Romano, freshly grated
8 sprigs of flat leaf parsley

Set oven to 450 degrees. Put about a teaspoon of olive oil in a sauté pan, warm, then add the cubed guanciale to the pan and brown about 10 minutes. When the fat releases from the meat, add the chestnuts and brown another 5 minutes.

While the meat is on the stove, shred the Gouda to yield 2 Tbsp cheese per chicken thigh.

Meanwhile, lay each chicken thigh on an approximately 12 inch long piece of non stick aluminum foil. The thighs will be topped with the meat, cheese and rosemary, then rolled in the foil. When the meat is done, divide it among the thighs; sprinkle the cheese evenly over the meat, top with rosemary. Using the foil, roll the chicken, then fold over the sides of the foil to create a packet, place seam side up on a baking sheet.

Bake 35 minutes, remove to rest 5 minutes. Remove from foil packets, plate and top with grated Romano cheese and parsley. Serve with Barbera.