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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chicken with Prosciutto and Spinach-Basil Pesto

A few weeks ago, we watched an episode of Lidia's Italy in America, which is a great PBS cooking show featuring Lidia Bastianich.  She was preparing a beautiful pesto that was made with a mixture of basil and spinach and I could not wait to try it!  I love anything with spinach, but using it as part of pesto just made so much sense.

First, I wanted to come up with a recipe that would highlight the pesto, so all of those bright flavors would come through.  So I decided on a stuffed chicken breast with a little prosciutto added in for balance, and the results were wonderful.  The recipe below is a slight variation of Lidia's.  We went a little lighter on the walnuts and a touch lighter on the oil, but you can easily adjust these to your own taste preference.

This was a super easy dinner to prepare and it's even fancy enough to serve guests.  We served the stuffed chicken with a few slices of fried polenta that were topped with a sprinkle of Italian cheese and a drizzle of the same spinach-basil pesto.

3  Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breasts, pounded out to 1/4-inch thick
Kosher Salt and Pepper
6  Slices Prosciutto Ham
1/2 to 3/4 cup  Chopped Walnuts
4 oz  Baby Spinach Leaves, stems removed
1 cup  Fresh Basil Leaves
2 cloves  Garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
3/4 cup  Olive Oil
1/4 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil

Lay the chicken breasts on a platter and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Place 2 slices of prosciutto ham on each piece of chicken, overlapping the ham slightly.  Set the chicken aside while you prepare the pesto.

Add the walnuts, spinach, basil, garlic and salt to a food processor and pulse several times to combine.  Add the olive oil in a steady stream and blend until you have a smooth paste consistency, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.

Spread a few teaspoons of the pesto mixture over the slices of prosciutto, keeping the mixture about 1/4-inch from the edges.  Carefully roll the chicken into a bundle and secure the edges with a toothpick.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil to coat the pan.  When the skillet is very warm, place the chicken bundles into the skillet and brown on all sides, turning 1/4 turn every 3 minutes or so, until the chicken is evenly browned on all sides and the meat is cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and let rest for a few minutes, then slice the chicken bundles on an angle, move the slices to a plate and drizzle the chicken with a little olive oil if desired.  Enjoy!!


  1. Wow this looks amazing! I actually did a prosciutto wrapped stuffed chicken breast as well. Leads to an incredibly moist and flavorful chicken. Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  2. The pesto is so yummy, it would be great with many foods. Prosciutto on the outside is a great idea! Thanks for visiting!


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