Homemade is Better – Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rosé Fettuccine

Homemade is Better – Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rosé Fettuccine

If you’ve ever had cordon bleu—chicken stuffed with ham and cheese, breaded, and pan-fried—you’ll recognize part of this.  I wanted to make a variation on a deconstructed cordon bleu and decided that instead of having a breading I would use prosciutto.  I paired it with fettuccine and a rosé  sauce because I liked the idea of having a stuffed chicken breast with pasta, and I’ve not made a rosé sauce that I can recall; I mean, after more than 100 recipes, some of them blur.

The trick with stuffing a chicken breast is ensuring that you make enough space inside without cutting through.  You want to make a pocket, but it doesn’t have to be that wide, just long enough that you can get the stuffing in.  I use my boning knife, but understandably not everyone has one of these, so a paring knife will suffice.  You want to cut a pocket from the back (the rounded edge) to the front (the point).  You only need enough space to get the ham and cheese to fit without sticking out.  Once you learn how to make the pockets the sky is the limit as to what you can put inside to create a delicious masterpiece.  Ham and cheese are just the beginning, you can add compound butters to make chicken Kiev, or different cheeses like Swiss, Emmenthal, Oka, or a flavored cream cheese.

I mentioned earlier that I tried to make a variation of chicken cordon bleu, and while making it I was struck by the history of the dish.  I thought cordon bleu was much older than it seems to be.  The dish is thought to originate in Brigg, Switzerland.  This shocked me! I thought, based on the name, that this dish was French.  It turns out that the cook who invented the dish was just trying to make her supplies last longer.  After a tourist group showed up, she was afraid of not having enough for everyone, so she added ham and cheese to stretch her portions and feed everyone.  The owner is said to have offered her the Cordon Bleu, or Blue Ribbon which is a high honor to chefs in France.  The blue ribbon symbolizes a great chef.  The cook turned down the honor but instead suggested the dish be named cordon bleu.

So there we have it, it’s a Swiss dish with a French name and it was a highly sought menu item during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.  Not many restaurants make it on their regular menu now, not because it’s a difficult dish to make, but, anecdotally, it lost its popularity from people having it so much.  It is also mass produced now, making the dish bland and boring.  It’s not as unique as it once was, and restaurants typically don’t want to make it due to its labour intensiveness.  It requires the cook to butterfly a chicken breast, pound it thin, layer Swiss cheese and ham.  It gets rolled up, breaded and fried or baked.  But these days, we can go to the local grocery store and grab some that were frozen in a factory somewhere.

I chose to make a variation out of a need to use a few ingredients in my kitchen, but also because inspiration hit me at the right time on the right day.  So, follow along and enjoy as you recreate this delicious dish.

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Rose Fettuccine


4 2” long sliced jack cheese,  ¼” thick
4 slices of ham
4 chicken breasts
8 slices of prosciutto
2 tbsp canola oil
3-4 cloves of garlic – sliced
1/2 red onion diced
1/4 cup red wine
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp rosemary
½ tsp thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 tbsp parmesan cheese – grated
1 pound (454g) of fettuccine

  • Heat your oven to 350°
  • Grab your slices of ham and cheese and roll the cheese into the ham. Set them aside.
  • Using a 6” knife or a close as possible, cut a small opening at the rounded end of the breast.
  • Push the ham cheese roll into the chicken breast until it is not showing (do your best, some chicken breasts are longer than others, if a little bit sticks out its fine).
  • Once the breasts are stuffed, wrap the prosciutto around them. You can use a toothpick to hold everything together, just make sure you remove it after cooking.
  • Heat a large pot with salted water over high heat until it comes to a boil.
  • Add the pasta, then start to sear the chicken.
  • Grab a metal frying pan and heat it up on high with 2 tablespoons of canola oil.
  • Once the oil is ready start searing the chicken on both sides. Cook for about 3 minutes each side.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on to a sheet pan, then finish them in the oven until the thickest breast reads 170°F on a thermometer. Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and allow them to rest.
  • While the chicken is cooking in the oven add the garlic and onions to the hot pan. Turn the heat down to medium high so they don’t burn.
  • Use the red wine to deglaze the pan, meaning you are getting all the cooked bits off the bottom. That’s added flavour!
  • Let the wine cook until it has reduced by at least half.
  • Add the tomato sauce and spices and let it simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cream and stir the sauce to combine.
  • Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the rose sauce.
  • Stir the sauce to coat the noodles, then plate.
  • You can slice the chicken or leave it whole and serve.