Roast chicken with pancetta & ricotta stuffing balls

Roast chicken with pancetta & ricotta stuffing balls

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(1 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins


Serves 4
A classic roast chicken is made extra special with these Italian stuffing balls

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal828
  • fat52g
  • saturates19g
  • carbs19g
  • sugars2g
  • fibre1g
  • protein71g
  • salt2.57g
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  • 1 whole chicken (about 1½ kg)



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

For the stuffing balls

  • 140g fresh bread (about 3-4 slices)
  • handful parsley, chopped



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • 140g ricotta



    Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from whey and traditionally a by-product of…

  • 100g parmesan, freshly grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • handful thyme, chopped


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • handful basil, chopped



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 12 thin slices pancetta or streaky bacon



    Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Season the chicken inside and out, then place in a large roasting dish. Rub all over with the oil. Place in oven, then cook for 1 hr 30 mins, spooning oil and juices over the bird a few times during cooking.

  2. Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Whizz the bread and parsley in a food processor or grate the bread on the biggest holes of a grater. Mix with the rest of the stuffing ingredients, apart from the pancetta or bacon, in a large bowl. Use your hands to shape into 12 balls, then wrap a slice of pancetta or bacon around each.

  3. Test if the chicken is done by inserting a skewer into the thigh meat; when the juices run clear, remove from the roasting dish. Place on a serving plate and loosely cover with foil. While the chicken is resting, pour away any excess fat from the dish and tip in the stuffing balls. Cook for 20 mins until crisp and golden. Serve alongside the chicken.

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Comments, questions and tips

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24th Oct, 2011
Tried the pancetta and ricotta stuffing alongside individual roast chicken breasts - even did a vege-ham wrapped equivalent for my other half. The stuffing is light and very tasty and can easily be adapted with different herbs (I didn't have thyme so left it out) and I used granary bread for my breadcrumbs. It was also very quick and easy to do - I left the prepared stuffing in the fridge overnight under some cling film which probably helped them stay in shape and it was fine. Best of all, my guests all loved it!
14th Sep, 2009
Tried this recipe on the strength of a friend's recomendation, and can honestly say the balls are not bad, not great. As I'm not a great lover of thyme, I could taste this straight away, would make again but leaving out the thyme. Paxo wins for me I'm afraid
12th Sep, 2009
Two Friends at work raved about the stuffing balls, so will give it a go for Sunday Lunch and let u know my verdict
amp1043's picture
24th Aug, 2009
Have just finished eating this. It's very good. I added some Italian herbs to the chicken. It took a bit longer to make than I thought it would but well worth the effort. Also, I rolled the stuffing into a sausage shape rather than balls because it's easier to wrap. Will make again!
23rd Aug, 2009
This sounds good. Might give it a go tonight.
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