Grilled chicken is one of our summertime staples. In fact, we love it so much that we’ve been known to fire up the grill even in the winter so we can get a taste of our chargrilled favorite. But if we were to have one criticism, it’s that sometimes, chicken on the grill can dry out a little bit. Some recipes, like Martha Stewart’s 4-ingredient grilled chicken, remedy this by using dark meat chicken thighs, which are naturally juicy, but if you prefer white meat, this handy recipe from Giada De Laurentiis will do the trick. It pairs boneless skinless chicken breasts with rich, fatty pancetta (or slab bacon) to make grilled skewers, or spiedini, that are full of unctuous flavor and never taste dried out.
The key lies in alternating the chicken pieces on each skewer with slices of pancetta. Pancetta is cured pork belly, just like bacon, but unlike bacon (which is smoked), pancetta is simply salt cured. In this recipe, you’ll get plenty of smoky flavor from the grill, but you can substitute bacon if pancetta is hard to come by.
As the chicken and pancetta cook together, the rendered fat from the pancetta coats the chicken pieces, giving them extra juicy flavor.
But the pancetta isn’t the only thing lending its flavor to the chicken. Before they’re even skewered, the pieces of meat are tossed with oregano, red pepper flakes, olive oil, lemon zest, and salt.
That means every bite is bursting with Mediterranean flavor.
Once your chicken and pancetta skewers are cooked through and slightly charred in places (whether you’re using a grill pan or cooking on an actual grill), they’re finished with a spritz of fresh lemon juice.
While we think these skewers would be divine served with a simple green salad and an ice cold glass of wine, De Laurentiis also suggests pairing them with lemon spaghetti or pan-fried zucchini to make a full meal.
However you serve them, these easy grilled chicken skewers with pancetta are bound to become a summer staple.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty: