Ricotta, Spinach, and Ham Stuffed Chicken Breast Marsala with Pine Nut Pilaf

Italian favorites make this a really special chicken dish for family and guests. 

Note: You will need kitchen twine to prepare this recipe.


  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for drizzling
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta or sheep’s milk ricotta
  • 1 box organic frozen spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry, and separated
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 slices speck or prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons flour, plus more for dredging
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Pine Nut Pilaf, for serving (recipe follows)

For the Pine Nut Pilaf:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock


Cut four long pieces of kitchen twine.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a liberal drizzle of EVOO plus 2 tablespoons butter and sauté the mushrooms for 8-10 minute to darken.

Meanwhile, butterfly the chicken breasts open and pound them out very thin, no more than 1/8-inch thick. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and top each piece of chicken with 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese and spread it around. Top with a quarter of the spinach and season with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of speck. Roll the chicken into bundles and secure with twine. Season the bundles with salt and pepper and dredge lightly in flour.

Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and remove to a plate. Add EVOO to coat the pan. Add the chicken and cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons flour and deglaze the pan with marsala. Add the stock and cook to thicken, about 1-2 minutes, then add the mushrooms to combine. Remove the string from the chicken and top with sauce. Serve with Pine Nut Pilaf.

To make the Pine Nut Pilaf, melt the butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the orzo and pine nuts and toast until golden. Add the rice and stir in the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 18 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

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