academia barilla  November 2008

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Herbs and Cheese, a traditional Bologna gourmet dish

Bologna, Italy,the capital of Emilia-Romagna, is world famous for its sophisticated cuisine, [...]

Bologna, Italy,the capital of Emilia-Romagna, is world famous for its sophisticated cuisine, which includes this preparation for stuffed chicken breasts. Today we share with you a traditional Bologna recipe we found in a new cookbook at the Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library: Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Herbs and Cheese.

james-mcnair-chicken-cookbookThe recipe is taken by the cookbook “Chicken” by celebrity Chef and cookbook writer James McNair, published by San Francisco publisher Chronicle Books.

The pictures in this blog post are taken from the same book, and are by photographer Patricia Brabant.

Ready? Let’s go to the kitchen!

A recipe by Chef James McNair
(serves 4 to 6)



- 8 boned and skinned chicken breast halves
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, preferably flat-leaf Italian type
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano, finely crumbled
- 1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram, or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram, finely crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 1/4 pound Fontina or Bel Paese cheese
- flour for dredging
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup unseasoned fine dry bread crumbs, preferably made from Italian or French bread
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup dry white wine


Discard the tendons and any connecting tissue or fat from the chicken breasts; tuck the little fillet under the larger muscle.

Place breasts between 2 sheets of waxed paper and pound with a mallet or other flat instrument to a uniform thickness of about 1/8 inch. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Place butter in a food processor or blender and whip until light and fluffy. Add parsley, oregano, marjoram, and nutmeg and blend well. Reserve.

Cut the cheese lengthwise into 8 equal-sized pieces and place 1 piece crosswide on each reserved chicken piece. Equally distribute about half of the reserved herb butter among the chicken pieces, spreading it over the cheese.

Roll the breasts tightly around the cheese. Place the flour, eggs, and crumbs in 3 separate bowls. Dredge the chicken rolls lightly in flour, then dip into beaten e6gs, and finally roll in the bread crumbs.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/8 inch in a heavy skillet, heat over medium heat, add the chicken rolls, and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken rolls, seam side down, to a flat, ovenproof baking dish.

Melt the remaining herbed butter in a small saucepan, stir in the wine, and pour the mixture over the chicken. Bake, basting occasionally, until the chicken is golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes. Spoon pan drippings over chicken before serving.

Thank you to the BIGAB team, our colleagues from the Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library, for providing us with this traditional Bologna gourmet recipe. We actually got two chicken recipes from BIGAB, and we will publish the second one soon this week, so stay tuned!

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“Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Herbs and Cheese, a traditional Bologna gourmet dish”

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