Juicy Hasselback Chicken - Stuffed with Spinach & Ricotta Cheese
There is a handful of my personal favorite ways to cook chicken breast. And this hasselback chicken stuffed with spinach and ricotta is definitely in the top 5!
Course: Main Course
2halves chicken breast - approx. 1 lb
½cupor 4.5 oz ricotta cheese
4packed cups or 7-8 oz fresh spinach
Handful fresh basil (optional)
2garlic clovescrushed with a flat knife (optional)
3tbspbread crumbs (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper to taste
If you are using pre-washed baby spinach proceed directly to the next step.But if you are using fresh spinach from the garden or from the local market, rinse it under a cold running water several times to remove any dirt. As an alternative you can soak it in the water for a few minutes, rub lightly with hands and drain. Dry with a salad spinner or pat with a paper towel. Cut off the stems. But don’t stress too much getting your spinach completely “stem free”.
Chop rolled spinach leaves with a sharp knife.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
In a large skillet pan add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and if you have, garlic cloves crushed with a flat knife. Sautee over medium heat for 2 minutes or until garlic cloves are golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Remove garlic, add spinach. Sautee for 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add ricotta cheese. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper to taste. Let it cool for a few minutes.
In the meantime, dry chicken breast halves with a paper towel and rub with some extra virgin olive oil. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in each chicken halves crosswise. They should be approx your point finger wide and ¾ through the chicken breast. These slits will create a sort of “pockets” to stuff our chicken with spinach ricotta filling. Pay attention to not cut through the chicken all the way through and to not destroy the pockets.
Using a spoon or a small spatula stuff each pocket with spinach ricotta filling.
Generously sprinkle first layer of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese on top. Layer with some bread crumbs and parmesan cheese again.
You can completely do without bread crumbs, which would make this hasselback chicken completely gluten free. But if you have have/can use some they’ll add a mouthwatering golden color without chicken breast being overcooked.
Transfer stuffed chicken breasts onto the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
Allow chicken to cool for about 5 minutes before serving, so the juices settle down and you get the most flavorful and tender hasselback chicken.