Roasted chicken stuffed with red pesto


45m preparation + 40m rest


 4 serves



  • 2 medium chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

  • 65 g red pesto

  • 2 scallions

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • Fennel seeds

  • dried basil

  • 125 g ricotta

  • 12 bacon strips

  • Fresh cracked black pepper

  • salt

  • olive oil

  • valerian salad to serve

  • pomegranate to serve



1. Grind fennel seeds and black pepper in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle until very fine. Toss spice mixture and salt in a small bowl and combine with basil, a half scallion chopped and red pesto. Set aside.

2. Pat chicken breasts dry and place on a cutting board. Place your hand flat on top of the chicken breast, and slice into one side. Start at the thicker end and finish at the thin point, without slicing through to the other side. Open the chicken breast. It should resemble a butterfly shape. Proceed same way with the second chicken breast. Or go to the butcher and he will do this for you! Now arrange the chicken breast together side to side, inverting the direction so they assemble evenly. Make sure there is a slight overlap. The idea is to create a layer of meat of uniform thickness across the entire breasts.

3. Spread the ricotta and then a layer of red pesto mixture all over flesh of chicken to coat evenly, working into crevices. Roll up chicken breasts like to form a log. Arrange bacon slices on a flat surface, slightly overlapping and place the chicken roll on top, bottom side up.Drape chicken with bacon slices then turn the whole thing. Loop a length of string around outside edge and tie closed. Starting at center, tie with kitchen twine at even intervals.

4. Preheat your oven to 160°C . Preheat a cast iron or oven proof skillet on the medium high heat and brown chicken and scallions cut in a half and garlic cloves with a bit of olive oil, around 5 minutes.  Put the skillet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

5. Increase oven temperature 200°C and cook until bacon is browned and crisp and a thermometer registers 65°C when tucked inside the roast, 5–10 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and let chicken rest at least 40 minutes before slicing, the cuts will be neater.


Reheat quickly covered in the oven then serve with pan juices and salad with pomegranate seeds.



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