stuffed chicken parmesan

…has any other combination of three simple words ever sounded so glorious?


Three simple words. A marriage of a few classic Italian staples. All of a sudden – BOOM! A glorious, Sunday-dinner worthy creation is born.

I feel as though many people are slightly intimidated by the thought of making ‘chicken parm’ from scratch! Dredging, battering, pan searing, baking….truth be told, it is a lot of steps! But when you properly lay out your ingredients and pre-form your assembly line, I promise, it’s smooth sailing from there.

My husband is a die-hard ‘chicken parm’ lover. To be more accurate, he is a lover of all classic Italian dishes, but we’ll save that for another time. We had been looking at the weather forecast, and I decided that a warm, soul-hugging dinner was on the docket. But in true Alicia form, I thought to myself – how can I dress this up? Can I put my little twist on it?

After perusing the refrigerator and snooping around my pantry, I had made my game plan. With some leftover prosciutto, fresh Italian cheeses, and arugula in hand, I made my way to my (modestly sized) countertop to start gathering the rest of my ingredients. 


My wannabe chef mind had settled on creating a stuffed Chicken Parmesan using the above-mentioned ingredients.  Of course, I had to balance out the richer flavors of both the cheese and prosciutto, so I decided that rather than pan frying the breaded chicken, I would quickly sear it on the stovetop, then finish it out in the oven. And while we’re at it, why not cook the chicken on a bed of arugula and red sauce? Flavor and a side dish in one?


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Stuffed Chicken Parmesan {original recipe}

{serves two generously, can easily be doubled or tripled}

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 pieces of very thinly sliced prosciutto 

3 C arugula, divided

1 t dried oregano

1 t dried basil

1 – 2 C of bread crumbs

1 C of all-purpose flour

1 large egg (if doubling or tripling the recipe, use 2-3 eggs)

1- 1.5 C of Italian cheeses (for mine, I used a combination of Parmesan, Romano, and Provolone – any assortment would work well)

salt & pepper, to taste

olive oil as needed


2 – 3 C of tomato sauce* depending on saucy you like your final dish (I have no problem with using a jar of GOOD marinara. Truth be told, I often use my homemade sauce, but I had used my last jar for dinner the night before. A quick and easy marinara, and one that freezes beautifully, is my sauce of choice. But we’ll save that for another post)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×8 or 9×9 glass baking dish, and spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Sprinkle 2 cups of arugula atop the sauce, and set the pan aside. If doubling or tripling the recipe, I suggest using a 9×13 glass baking dish. 

Preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat. Give it one or two turns of good olive oil – this will be used to sear off the chicken before baking.

Put together your assembly line for dredging and breading the chicken. In the first bowl, pour in your all-purpose flour. Season with salt & pepper to taste. The second bowl will get the beaten egg. In the third bowl, pour in the bread crumbs, seasoning with salt & pepper to taste, as well as the dried basil and oregano. Stir to combine.

Portion out the pieces of prosciutto, the arugula, and 3/4 C of your cheese – these will all be getting stuffed into the breasts, so it’s important to set out what you need (you’re going to have chicken hands!).

On a plastic cutting board (I stress using plastic when working with raw meat, because it’s easier to clean and sanitize than a wooden cutting board), lay out your two chicken breasts. We’re going to “butterfly” them; this means that we will cut each breast through the slide, starting on the left side, and working your way 3/4 of the way through. Open the flap, and voila! – it now looks like a butterfly. Ah, the wonders of culinary language.

On one side of the now butterflied chicken, layer a piece of the prosciutto, then a handful of arugula, half of the cheese, then a second piece of the prosciutto. Fold the other side of the chicken over the stuffed side, and secure both sides together with toothpicks. Repeat with the second breast. I find it helpful to count the amount of toothpicks in each breast, so when you go to remove them before serving, you know exactly how much you’re looking for.

Now, on to the assembly line! Using on hand, take the first stuffed breast, and run it through the seasoned flour mixture, coating it well, and then shaking off the excess. Place it into the egg mixture and, using your clean hand, run the breast through the egg mixture, coating both sides and letting excess drip off. Move it into the final bowl and coat both sides evenly with the seasoned bread crumb mixture (use your first hand..the flour hand…for this step). Put it into the heated skillet, then repeat the process with the second breast.

Sear both pieces of chicken, allowing a golden crust to develop on each side (depending on the size, this could take anywhere from 2-4 minutes per side). Once each side has become golden, transfer to the baking dish with sauce and arugula. Top each with one of the last two pieces the prosciutto. Divide the remaining cheese and place on top.

Cook chicken until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees (I love my instant read thermometer, complete with temperature guide, for this!). In my oven, this took about 40 minutes.  During the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, warm the marinara sauce on the stove. This will be served atop the chicken when it comes out of the oven. 

My dear husband loves a traditional spaghetti served on the side. I love spaghetti squash, but feel free to use whatever! I’d love to hear what you serve with yours; leave it in the comments below!

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