Sunday Supper: Pancetta-Wrapped Chicken Breast with Leeks and Thyme Recipe

Each Saturday evening we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.

I don't know how it happened, but my favorite dish from my go-to neighborhood Italian restaurant happens to be a simple concoction of penne tossed with some good olive oil and some sautéd garlic and broccoli—all topped by a grilled chicken breast. I always picture it as their sop to dieters or calorie-concious diners, and I always feel like it's akin to ordering steak at a seafood joint.

I order it because over the past year or so, I've started getting the acid reflux after eating heavily tomato-sauced foods, and this lightly treated pasta preparation appeals to me. The price, however, does not. (I'm embarrassed to even mention it here because it's ludicrous for what actually goes into it.)

Anyway, long story short, I got sick of paying through the nose for this stuff and experimented the other night with making it myself.

But that's not the recipe you're getting here—I haven't perfected it and still have a ways to go before sharing it.

What I do have is a pair of chicken breasts left over from my experiment and the need to use them up before they go bad. Rather than experiment further, I'll share this tried-and-true recipe with you. It's adapted from Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie, and it's a good way to use up a couple breasts of chicken.

Sometimes it's a boring meat, especially just the breast, but wrap it in some pancetta and throw some leeks in there and you're good to go. The amounts below correspond to one breast; just multiply them—and use a bigger cooking dish—to feed more people.

Pancetta-Wrapped Roasted Chicken Breast with Leeks and Thyme


  • 1 chicken breast, skin removed
  • 1 large leek
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme
  • A pour of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • A swig of white wine
  • 7 slices pancetta


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack centered. Meanwhile, place chicken breast (or breasts) in a bowl. Wash and trim the leek, remove outer leaves, and cut it into 1/4-inch pieces. Add leek to bowl along with a few leaves from one of the thyme sprigs, the olive oil, the butter, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the white wine. Toss everything together.

  2. Add leek flavoring mix to a snug baking dish. Wrap chicken in the pancetta and place in dish. Drizzle with olive oil and add a couple thyme sprigs to the dish. Cook in center of oven for 25 to 35 minutes.

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