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June 15, 2011

This is a great snack for those who want to combine italianesque bread with some veggies, meat and dairy all in one.  Not to mention the delicious basil taste from the pesto and other herbs or spices you can add to the pocket filling.  All these ingredients put together result in a well balanced meal.  At first glance, it might appear too much fiddling with making the dough, rolling and folding it but actually, this meal is kind of “lazy” because once you’ve got it all in the oven baking, you don’t need to worry about going to buy bread or making a separate meal to go with it.  Plus, it’s easy to transport if you decide to go to a friend’s house or a picnic in the forest.

Though parmesan and chicken is a standard combination in Italian cuisine, I made this from scratch including the dough.  It turned out alright in the end although there are some things I might do differently next time.  For example, this is perfect if you’ve been carb-deprived for a while or simply craving bready stuff, or have become tired of your regular grocery store bread.  The dough is nice, smooth and fragrant, thanks to the olive oil and herbs.  The filling tastes good, especially if you’re serving it to kids or elderly people.  However, there are some things I would do differently next time.  For example, instead of using dried herbs, I would try fresh rosemary.  Whether using fresh or dried herbs, just be careful not to add too much because it may overwhelm the dough.  Additionally, I would caramelize some onions and add them to the filling, as well as include some calamata olives for some saltiness.  One last tip is to use fresh parmesan cheese and grate it yourself rather than the packaged pre-grated one which I think is a sacrilege since it makes the parmesan devoid of flavor.  Finally, for some nice vegetarian parmesanki, omit the meat and add extra vegetables of your choice.  Just make sure the vegetables are pre-cooked or won’t release any water into the filling which may break your little parmesan pockets.


  • 1kg flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 chicken (cooked)
  • 2 red peppers
  • 4 tsps pesto
  • 4 tbsps mayonnaise
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • olives (optional)

1. Make dough

Pour a third of the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the middle and break the eggs in the center.  Stir with a wooden spoon until eggs have mixed in.  Add a pinch of thyme, rosemary and oregano, and 1 tsp of sea salt.  Add 1 cup of tap water, another third of the flour and stir well.   Repeat adding more water and the rest of the flour minus a few tablespoons of extra flour for finish.  Stir for 3-5 min until you have obtained a homogenous mix.  If the dough seems sticky, add flour little by little – 1 tablespoon at a time – and stir after every time.  Knead the dough with your hands when it no longer sticks for a few minutes.  Not much kneading is needed for this recipe, especially if you use self-rising flour.  Divide the dough into 8 balls – first my splitting it into two parts, then each part into two again and again.  Sprinkle the amoeba cells with some flour and leave aside.


2. Prepare ingredients for filling

Cut or tear pre-cooked chicken meat into bite-size pieces.  I use dark and white meat.  But you can use only breast meat, if you prefer.  Cut red peppers into small strips.  A small tip: Boil red peppers for 3-5 min in the same water the chicken is cooking, if using a whole chicken for this recipe.  Later, you can use the broth for another yummi recipe that I will post called chicken fricassee.  Open mayo and pesto jars with a spoon by the side and you have everything ready within reach for your filling.  Oops, I nearly forgot the parmesan cheese – use already grated or fresh one grating it finely on smallest setting.  (Additional ingredients can be used for the filling, such as caramelized onions and/or calamata olives but I decided to start with kid-friendly flavors first and build upon it later.)


3. Fill and fold pockets

Roll out each dough ball into a long oval.  Roll first vertically, rolling up and down, then sideways, left and right until dough piece thins out on both ends and nicely stretched.  Avoid rolling out too much so as to prevent pocket from breaking when filled.  Spread 1/2 tbsp of mayonnaise and 1/2 tsp of pesto over dough sheet, sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of parmesan cheese, put some chicken on one end of the sheet, a tablespoon of pepper strips on top, a dash of black pepper (and any other condiments you might want to use like olives) and begin folding.  Fold the end with the chicken filling towards the opposite side of the dough oval, fold an increment on both sides after first fold and then keep once or twice more, depending on how much “fabric” is left.  Press any side that might stick out to make sure your parmesan pocket is well insulated from any mayonnaise that might decide to run away during the baking process!


4. Sprinkle and bake

Arrange your parmesanki on a baking sheet or a greased pan, sprinkle each with olive oil from leftover pesto jar, extra parmesan, and maybe just a dash of paprika on top, if desired.  Bake at 175C/350F for 15-20 min and once done, let cool a bit.  Cut in half and serve warm with a freshly squeezed lemonade or other refreshing drink.  Enjoy!


From → Italian, Meat, Summer

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