Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach Chicken Ballotine, Vegetable Minestrone
To prepare the ballotines, firstly peel and dice the butternut squash, lay onto a roasting tray and throw in lashings of the olive oil, fresh thyme and a drizzle of honey. Cover with foil and cook in the oven on 180C for approx. 20-25 minutes until it is soft to the touch. Allow to cool, meanwhile bring a pan of seasoned water to the boil and blanch the spinach literally in and out then refresh under cold water and dry.
Carefully slice your chicken breast in half on its side being careful not to cut all the way through and lay flat onto your chopping board. Lay a double layer of cling film on your work surface and place a piece of Parma ham onto it, then lay your chicken on top of that and flatten it with a rolling pin or meat mallet until it is fairly thin. For the filling you need to have a line of butternut squash and spinach down the centre of your flattened chicken. Season the chicken. Now you need to roll the chicken towards you to form the ballotine, making sure the cling film is very tight around the chicken and tie very tightly at both ends.
For the minestrone finely dice the shallots and carrots and sweat off in a saucepan for a few minutes. Now add the chicken stock and when boiling add the orzo pasta. Whilst this is cooking dice the courgette, roast red pepper and green beans and finely chop the fresh herbs and kale. When the pasta is al dente add all the remaining ingredients and remove from the heat, check for seasoning.
To cook the chicken, place the ballotines into a pan of boiling water and poach for 20 minutes, remove the cling film then crisp up in a frying pan. Now it is all ready to serve.