A little twist on the classic Italian saltimbocca

Nothing beats prosciutto-wrapped chicken for a dish that looks fabulous but is easy to do

PREP TIME: 10 mins + 30 mins marinade (optional)
30 mins
family, midweek meal, impressing friends 😉

Chicken saltimbocca

This is a classic Italian dish.

The word saltimbocca is an Italian term that means ‘jumps in the mouth’. 

And it’s usually made with veal or chicken fillets that are wrapped with prosciutto (Parma ham) slices and sage leaves, then cooked until golden.

This dish is said to be a traditional Roman dish.

However, saltimbocca alla Romana is often said to have originated in Brescia, in the region of Lombardy around the 1800s.

And it’s no great surprise that this dish is called saltimbocca alla Bresciana.

I guess the hole in the place of origin for Rome is the prosciutto.

Because it comes from two places in Italy.

The first is Prosciutto di Parma, from the region of Emilia Romagna.

And the second, is Prosciutto di San Daniele, which comes from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

But where this dish originated doesn’t really matter.

Because it’s simply delicious.

The flavour of the prosciutto enriches the meat.

And the sauce gives it a lovely richness.

However, this recipe has a slight twist on the original saltimbocca taken from Theo Randall’s The Italian Deli Cookbook.

Prosciutto-wrapped chicken

One step that tenderises the chicken and adds flavour is a quick marinade of lemon, garlic and thyme.

And the second twist is with the sauce.

It uses sweet marsala with butter to create an incredible sauce.

Prosciutto-wrapped chicken

What to serve with prosciutto-wrapped chicken

Simple greens are all you need.

You could serve it with beans, broccoli, kale or chard, steamed or sautéed.

Roasted potatoes or a lemon risotto would work well. 


  1. Marinade: If you can spare the 30 mins of marinating the chicken in lemon, thyme and garlic, it’s worth it.

2. Seal: Get your large frying pan on a good medium-high heat.  

Place the chicken in the pan, ham side down to seal and brown approx. 2 mins on each side.

Put the browned prosciutto-wrapped chicken to one side and cover with foil.

3. Sauce: Pour the Marsala wine into the hot frying pan and use a wooden spoon to deglaze by scraping up the lovely gooey bits on the bottom.

If you’re looking for another fantastic chicken and prosciutto recipe, check out these Sicilian chicken skewers

Prosciutto-wrapped chicken

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword chicken, chicken and parma ham, chicken breasts, chicken wrapped in prosciutto, midweek meal, parma ham
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinade (optional) 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Theo Randall
Cost £



  • 1 juice of lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Chicken ingredients

  • 2 free-range chicken breast (skin removed)
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 6 slices of prosciutto


  • 70 g unsalted butter
  • 75 ml sweet marsala
  • 4 tbsp hot water
  • salt and pepper for seasoning


  • Cut into your chicken breasts, horizontally, on each side i.e. so it opens like a book. (Make sure you don't cut all the way through).
  • In a bowl, add the lemon, chopped thyme and garlic, then add the chicken and leave to marinate for approx. 30 mins
  • Once done, place a sage leaf inside each side of the chicken breast.
    Take 3 slices of prosciutto for each chicken breast and wrap the chicken so there are no gaps. Gently pat flat.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C (or 160C on fan)/350F.
    Now, seal and brown the chicken in an oven-proof frying pan:
    Add 50 g of butter and let it foam a little before adding the wrapped chicken.
    Seal for approx 2 mins until a light golden brown then turn over and cook for approx 1 min.
    Now, put the oven-proof frying pan in the oven and cook for approx. 8 mins or until cooked through (I use a meat thermometer to reach 74C).
    Remove from the oven and place the chicken on a warm plate, cover with foil to rest.
  • Using the same pan with any juices, place on medium heat and add the Marsala wine. Cook for 3 mins to reduce by half, then add 4 tbsps of hot water and reduce by half again.
    Lastly, add the remaining butter and give a stir until the butter emulsifies the sauce. Season to your liking.
  • Serve with some green and pour the sauce over the wrapped chicken.


Recipe inspired by Theo Randall’s Italian Deli Cookbook