Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini: Mastering the Ultimate Italian Comfort Food


Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini is a delicious twist on the classic Italian comfort food, featuring breaded chicken filled and rolled with cheese and spinach, then topped with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella. This dish offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, making it a perfect choice for a family dinner or a special occasion.

To prepare Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini, you’ll start by selecting boneless, skinless chicken breasts which will be flattened and seasoned. To enhance the flavor, a blend of cheeses – often including ricotta and parmesan – and spinach are added as the filling. The stuffed chicken breasts are then rolled and coated with breadcrumbs, providing a crispy exterior that complements the tender, juicy chicken and creamy filling. Baking the rollatini in the oven, smothered in marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese, allows all of the flavors to meld together, resulting in a dish packed with Italian goodness.

Although Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini may seem like a complex dish to prepare, with a little practice and patience, you’ll find yourself easily mastering the art of rolling and stuffing the chicken breasts. The end result will be a satisfying and visually appealing meal, leaving you and your loved ones craving more.

History and Origin

A rustic kitchen table with fresh ingredients and vintage cookware, evoking a sense of tradition and culinary heritage

Italian Cuisine Foundations

The story of Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini begins with the foundation of Italian cuisine, which boasts a rich and diverse culinary tradition. Chicken Parmigiana originates from the Italian immigrant communities in the northeastern United States in the 1950s. This dish quickly became a popular staple in Italian-American cuisine and in home cooking. However, the original Italian recipes used eggplant instead of chicken due to the latter being expensive for most households. The traditional eggplant-based dish is known as melanzane alla parmigiana, primarily made in Southern Italy.

Rollatini, on the other hand, is an Italian-style dish often made with thinly sliced eggplants dusted in wheat flour or lightly breaded, and covered with ricotta and other cheeses and seasonings before being rolled up and baked. Combining the two dishes, Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini becomes a delicious and innovative way to enjoy traditional Italian flavors.

Here’s a brief timeline to summarize the milestones in the evolution of Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini:

Timeline Event
17th-18th c. Roots of parmigiana dish with eggplant in Southern Italy
Early 1900s Veal version emerges in the United States
1944 Chicken version first reference in Maryland, US
1950s Chicken parmigiana becomes popular in Italian-American cuisine
Present-day Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini, a fusion of parmigiana and rollatini

While enjoying your Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini, appreciate the flavorful history that led to the creation of this delectable dish.


A plate with chicken parmigiana rollatini, topped with melted cheese and marinara sauce, surrounded by fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese

Choosing the Right Chicken

When preparing chicken parmigiana rollatini, it’s important to select the right chicken. Opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are of high quality. Usually, around 4 lbs of chicken should be enough for this recipe. To make sure the chicken is evenly cooked and easier to roll, feel free to pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness, around 1/4 inch.

Selecting Cheeses

For the perfect chicken parmigiana rollatini, picking the right cheeses play a vital role in enhancing its taste. Here’s what you’ll need for the recipe:

  • Mozzarella cheese (8 ounces): Choose whole milk mozzarella which brings a creamier texture.
  • Ricotta cheese (2/3 cup): Use part-skim ricotta cheese for a lighter and healthier option.
  • Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup): Freshly grated Parmesan will significantly improve the recipe’s flavor.

Note: Adjust the quantities as per your taste preferences.

Herbs and Seasoning

Herbs and seasoning are essential in bringing out the flavors in your chicken parmigiana rollatini. In your recipe, make sure to include:

  • Breadcrumbs (1 cup): Use your preferred breadcrumbs, either regular or Italian seasoned, for the breading.
  • Eggs (1–2): Egg(s) act as a binder and help the breadcrumbs adhere to the chicken.
  • Garlic (2 large cloves): Finely minced or grated, garlic brings a robust flavor to the dish.
  • Basil leaves (5–6): Fresh basil adds an aromatic touch to the rollatini.
  • Spinach (8 ounces): Thawed frozen spinach works well, just make sure to squeeze out any excess liquid.
  • Black pepper: A pinch of black pepper will help to bring out the flavors.

Here is a summary of the ingredients in a table format:

Ingredient Quantity
Boneless chicken breast 4 lbs
Mozzarella cheese 8 ounces
Part-skim ricotta cheese 2/3 cup
Freshly grated Parmesan 1/4 cup
Breadcrumbs 1 cup
Eggs 1-2
Garlic cloves 2, finely minced
Fresh basil leaves 5-6, torn
Frozen spinach 8 ounces, thawed
Black pepper A pinch

Remember to adjust the seasoning as per your taste preferences while maintaining the balance of flavors.

Cooking Instructions

Preparation Steps

Before getting started with baking your delicious chicken parmigiana rollatini, you need to prepare the ingredients and set up your workspace. First, gather all ingredients including chicken breasts, spinach, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, bread crumbs, and marinara sauce.

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C) to ensure even cooking.
  2. Thaw and squeeze dry 8 ounces of frozen spinach.
  3. In a bowl, combine 2/3 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (reserving 1/4 cup for later), 1 egg, and 2 minced garlic cloves.
  4. Flatten your chicken breasts using a meat mallet, making sure they are of even thickness for uniform cooking.

Baking Essentials

With your ingredients prepared, you can start focusing on assembling and baking your rollatini.

  1. Season the flattened chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  2. Evenly spread the ricotta mixture on each chicken breast.
  3. Carefully roll the chicken breasts and secure with toothpicks.
  4. Dip the chicken rolls in whisked egg whites, then coat them with Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then sear the chicken rolls until they are golden brown on all sides.
  6. Transfer the chicken rolls to a baking dish, coat with your desired amount of marinara sauce, and top with the reserved mozzarella cheese.
  7. Optional: For a more decadent flavor, you can add slices of prosciutto.
  8. Liberally apply a non-stick spray, such as olive oil non-stick spray, to the baking dish for easy removal of the chicken rolls after baking.
  9. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Serve your chicken parmigiana rollatini with a side of your favorite pasta or vegetables, and enjoy a scrumptious Italian comfort meal!

Nutritional Information

Caloric Content

Chicken parmigiana rollatini is a delicious and filling dish, but it’s essential to consider its calorie content when planning your meals. A serving of chicken parmigiana rollatini could have around 400-450 calories depending on the exact ingredients and preparation method. Factors such as the amount of breading, cheese, and sauce used can greatly affect the calorie count. Remember to always check the nutritional information provided on recipes or restaurant menus for the most accurate information.

Macronutrients and Micronutrients

The macronutrients in chicken parmigiana rollatini include carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Here is a breakdown of the macronutrient content of a typical serving:

  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 20-30 grams per serving, largely coming from the breadcrumbs used in the breading and the tomato sauce.
  • Protein: This dish is quite protein-rich, with around 30-40 grams per serving, mainly from the chicken breast and cheese.
  • Fat: Total fat content can vary from 15-20 grams per serving, with around 6-8 grams of saturated fat, mainly due to the cheese.

In terms of micronutrients, chicken parmigiana rollatini provides a good source of several vitamins and minerals. Some of the key micronutrients include:

  • Vitamin A: Found in the tomato sauce and spinach, this dish provides a good amount of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy vision and skin.
  • Vitamin C: The tomatoes in the sauce also contribute to the vitamin C content, promoting a healthy immune system.
  • Calcium: Thanks to the cheese and spinach, your dish offers a good dose of calcium, necessary for strong bones and teeth.
  • Iron: Spinach is also rich in iron, which is helpful in maintaining healthy blood cells.

Additionally, you’ll find small amounts of other micronutrients, such as potassium, fiber, and sodium. Keep in mind that the nutritional values may vary depending on the specific recipe or restaurant preparation.

Serving and Storage


Chicken Parmigiana Rollatini is a delightful and versatile main dish that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. To enhance your dining experience, consider serving this delicious dish with the following accompaniments:

  • Focaccia or Garlic Bread: Toasted focaccia or garlic bread provides a tasty and textural contrast to the tender chicken rollatini.
  • Pasta dishes: A side of spaghetti or linguine topped with a light marinara sauce complements the rollatini’s Italian flavors.
  • Vegetable sides: Steamed or roasted vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, or zucchini, make a nutritious addition to your meal.
  • Spinach lasagna rolls: For an indulgent treat, serve your chicken parmigiana rollatini alongside spinach lasagna rolls. The flavors and textures of both dishes complement each other perfectly.

Storing Leftovers

To keep your chicken parmigiana rollatini leftovers fresh and tasty, follow these simple steps:

  1. Allow the leftovers to cool down to room temperature before storing. This helps prevent the growth of foodborne bacteria.
  2. Place the leftovers in airtight containers, ensuring they are appropriately sealed to prevent exposure to air and moisture.
  3. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you’d like to store them even longer, consider freezing the rollatini in freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. They can last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  4. Reheat the chicken parmigiana rollatini in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 15-20 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). If reheating from frozen, add an additional 10-15 minutes to the cooking time. To prevent drying out, you may want to cover the dish with aluminum foil or use a cooking spray on the pan to retain the rollatini’s moisture during the reheating process.

Enjoy your mouth-watering chicken parmigiana rollatini, and don’t forget to savor the leftovers!

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