Remember the bacon exception? It’s the theory that even if you don’t eat meat or fat or animals or what have you, most of you will make an exception for bacon. Alright, alright there are some of you who are actually virtuous enough to adhere to your bacon-less diets, but for the rest of you, here is another delicious way to make bacon a part of your menu rotation.
Bacon-wrapped Ricotta-stuffed Chicken
Could it get any better?
You get a creamy, flavorful filling and a crispy, salty outside layer that keeps the chicken moist and flavorful. The bacon also holds everything together so the chicken doesn’t pop open. The recipe I followed recommended securing the chicken rolls with toothpicks, but I found this unnecessary and annoying.
If you are skilled enough to tuck in your chicken on all sides like a burrito, you will keep your cheese filling tucked in. If not, just don’t waste the yummy stuff that oozes out onto to your pan.
Bacon-wrapped Ricotta Chicken
adapted from allrecipes.com
2.5 lb. chicken breasts, thin sliced cutlets if possible
1 lb. bacon
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 T. chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare a sheet pan lined with foil. Preheat oven to 350.
If you bought chicken breasts and not cutlets, lay your chicken breasts out on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and pound with a meat mallet until thin and even. In a medium bowl mix your ricotta, basil, garlic, and Parmesan. Add salt and pepper as desired (remember that the Parmesan adds a lot of salt and the bacon will as well). Lay out your chicken breasts and divide the ricotta mixture between them, making sure not to fill them too full. Carefully roll up the chicken breasts from the short side, doing your best to contain the cheese. If desired, sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Wrap with a strip or two of bacon and place seam side down on your prepared pan. Repeat with the remainder of your chicken. I ended up with 8 rolls of chicken and I used all the bacon, cutting some pieces in half to wrap around parts of the chicken.
Bake at 350 for about 45 min, depending on thickness of the chicken, until the chicken is cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes and then serve.
Note: The bacon doesn’t get super crispy at this temperature, so you could try turning up the temp and baking for less time OR broiling the chicken for a short bit once it is almost done.
We enjoyed ours with homemade pesto and pasta!