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Ricotta and zucchini make an elegant filling for roast chicken

By Nealey Dozier
TheKitchn.com

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  • Baked Chicken With Zucchini and Ricotta Stuffing

    1 pound (about 2 to 3 medium) zucchini, grated

    Kosher salt and black pepper

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided

    1 medium onion, finely chopped

    1 large egg

    1 cup sourdough bread crumbs (or Japanese-style panko)

    1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    4 to 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, legs, or mix of both

    PREHEAT the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the grated zucchini with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and set in a strainer to drain for 15 to 30 minutes. Squeeze out any remaining water with a dish cloth or paper towels.

    MELT 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the drained zucchini and saute until tender, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and cool.

    ADD the egg, crumbs, ricotta, Parmesan and remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix until completely combined.

    LOOSEN the skin from the chicken breasts gently, being careful not to tear. Stuff a few heaping tablespoons of the zucchini mixture (the more the better) under the skin of each piece.

    PLACE the stuffed chicken pieces in a large roasting pan and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees in the thickest part, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes (chicken will continue cooking with residual heat).

    Yield: 4 to 6 servings.



While planning an impromptu dinner party recently, I was trying to come up with a savory fall dish that captured a bit of Indian summer. I remembered an incredible roast chicken dish that I made in culinary school but hadn’t made in many, many years. I dusted off my old textbook and drafted my ideal fall menu.

Moist, bone-in roast chicken breasts were the perfect vehicle for the mouthwatering filling. Zucchini, bread crumbs, ricotta, butter and Parmesan create a juicy layer that makes you wish chicken always tasted this good.

I nestled red potatoes under the chicken so they cooked in the delicious drippings. Decadent? Perhaps. Devoured? Absolutely.

While fancy enough to serve friends, this dish is definitely a worthy addition to your weekly rotation any time of year.

Nealey Dozier is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a website for food and home cooking.

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