Basil-stuffed chicken breasts

This stylish–looking main course is surprisingly easy to make. The chicken breasts can be prepared in advance, ready for cooking, and kept, covered, in the fridge. Tagliatelle tossed with a little grated lemon zest would be a good accompaniment, plus ciabatta with olives or sun–dried tomatoes.

Basil-stuffed chicken breasts


  • 4 skinless chicken breast fillets, about 140 g each
  • 100 g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • ⅔ cup (20 g) fresh basil
  • 4 slices prosciutto, about 50 g in total
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Green salad
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 125 g mixed salad leaves
  • 1 bunch of watercress, large stalks discarded


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Make a slit along the length of each chicken breast and enlarge to form a pocket.
  3. Divide the mozzarella among the chicken breasts, sliding the slices into the pockets.
  4. Top the cheese with the tomato slices and garlic.
  5. Roughly chop a little of the basil and add a sprinkling to each pocket.
  6. Season each chicken breast.
  7. Place a large sprig of basil on each, then wrap in a slice of prosciutto, making sure the prosciutto covers the slit in the chicken.
  8. Tie the prosciutto securely in place with a few pieces of string on each breast.
  9. Heat the oil in a heavy–based frying pan (preferably one with an ovenproof handle).
  10. Add the chicken breasts and fry over a high heat for 3–4 minutes, turning to brown both sides.
  11. Transfer the pan to the oven (or transfer the chicken to an oven 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.
  12. Meanwhile, make the salad.
  13. Put the oil and lemon juice in a bowl, season and mix well together.
  14. Add the salad leaves and watercress.
  15. Toss together, then divide among 4 serving plates.
  16. Remove the string from the chicken breasts.
  17. Cut each breast across into slices, holding it together so it keeps its shape.
  18. Place on the salad and garnish with the remaining basil.

Serves 4
Preparation: 25-30 minutes
Cooking: about 15 minutes


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