Prosciutto-stuffed chicken breasts

    40 minutes

    This stylish-looking main course is surprisingly easy to make. The chicken breasts can be prepared in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. Fettuccine tossed with a little grated lemon rind is a good accompaniment.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 4 chicken breast fillets, about 150 g each
    • 100 g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
    • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 bunch fresh basil
    • pepper to taste
    • 4 slices prosciutto or lean ham, about 60 g in total
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • pepper to taste
    • Green salad
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • pepper to taste
    • 1 packet (120 g) mixed salad leaves
    • 1 bunch watercress, large stalks discarded

    Preparation:25min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:40min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Make a slit along the length of each chicken breast and enlarge to form a pocket.
    2. Divide the mozzarella among the chicken breasts, sliding the slices into the pockets. Top the cheese with the tomato slices and crushed garlic. Roughly chop a little of the basil and add a sprinkling to each pocket.
    3. Season each chicken breast with pepper. Place a large sprig of basil on each, then wrap in a slice of prosciutto, making sure the ham covers the slit in the chicken. Tie the ham securely in place with three or four pieces of string on each breast.
    4. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan (preferably one with an ovenproof handle). Add the chicken breasts and fry over a high heat for 3–4 minutes, turning midway through to brown both sides. Transfer the pan to the oven (or transfer the chicken to an ovenproof dish) and bake for 10–12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through; the juices should run clear when the thickest part of the chicken is pierced with a knife.
    5. Meanwhile, to make the salad, place the oil and lemon juice in a bowl, season with pepper and mix well together. Add the lettuce and watercress. Toss together, then divide among 4 individual serving plates.
    6. Remove the string from the chicken breasts. Cut each breast across into slices, holding it together so it keeps its shape. Place on the salad and garnish with the remaining basil. Serve.


    As an alternative to the mozzarella filling, use a mixture of ricotta cheese and watercress. Soften 1/2 finely chopped red onion in 10 g reduced-salt margarine for 3–5 minutes, then add 80 g watercress sprigs and cook for a further minute or until the watercress has just wilted. Crumble in 100 g ricotta cheese and season with nutmeg and black pepper.


    The Greeks and Romans believed that eating watercress could cure madness. We also attribute healing powers to this green leaf, as it contains powerful phytochemicals that help to protect against cancer. It is also a good source of many B vitamins plus vitamins C, E and beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.

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