I haven’t cooked this recipe in a while, but when I had my business it was always a popular and highly recommended dish. Full of simple flavors, it is at once hearty and soul-satisfying. This dish can be made low fat by using fat-free or low-fat ricotto, but I would not use fat-free mozzarella – low-fat mozz is plenty low enough, and it is gluten-free and low-carb as well. It is great for chilly nights, but it is also a great choice for make-ahead-meals; simply prepare it and freeze it to thaw and cook at a later date. Enjoy!
- chicken breast - 4, boneless and skinless and trimmed of visible fat
- onion - 1/4 cup, or 1 small, finely chopped
- garlic - 2 cloves, minced
- olive oil - 1 tsp
- ricotta cheese - 1 cup
- mozzarella cheese - 1 cup
- spinach - 1 cup frozen, thawed and squeezed, or 1 cup freshly sauteed and squeezed
- dried basil - 1 tsp
- tomato sauce - 2 cups prepared, or make your own
1. Prepare the chicken breasts by rinsing them in water, then working with one at a time, lay it flat on a cutting board, and make a horizontal incision into the breast parallel with the cutting board, to create a pocket. Be sure to NOT cut through on three sides, you want a pocket, you DO NOT want it to open like a book.
2. While preparing the chicken, sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
3. Combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, spinach, basil and onion/garlic mixture in a bowl and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Hold one prepared chicken breast in your hand, cut side up, and spoon in about 1/2 cup of filling - fill them right to the top, then set it aside. Finish stuffing all the breasts in this fashion.
5. Pour about half the tomato sauce into a casserole dish large enough to snugly hold the chicken breasts, stuffed side up. Then arrange the chicken breasts into the pan and spoon the remaining sauce around them. Arrange the chicken breasts so that they hold each other up, preventing the cheese filling from escaping into the sauce.
6. Bake at 375-F for about 50-60 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken and your casserole pan. Make sure the chicken reads at least 165-F on a meat thermometer before serving.
7. Serve with pasta, a caesar salad and fresh bread. Yum!