Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Pancetta-Wrapped Chicken Breast with Pesto Orzo | September 27, 2010

Happy Monday!  As some of you may know, I am less than two weeks away from running my first marathon – the Chicago Marathon on 10/10/10.  Woo hoo!  In honor of what will hopefully be my greatest athletic achievement to date, this week I’m going to share some recipes from The Athlete’s Palate Cookbook, a compilation effort from the editors of Runner’s World magazine.

The first recipe I tried was this pancetta-wrapped chicken, which was contributed by Matt Connors, a multiple marathoner and the chef and owner of the Lake House in Bay Shore, New York.  I tweaked the recipe a little – as written, it called for grilled zucchini, and I just don’t care for that particular ingredient (as you can see from the photo, I opted for peas instead).  An unintentional tweak, however, involved me completely forgetting the thyme.  I think that would have made the difference – without the herb, the chicken was tasty but a little flat.  It stayed nice and moist, though, thanks to the pancetta cover.  The pesto orzo was absolutely delicious – I wish I had tripled the recipe so I could serve it with all of my dinners that week.

Obviously, chicken is a great source of lean protein, so this is an excellent recovery meal.  Enjoy!


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 16 thin slices pancetta


  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For pesto: Place all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

For chicken: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, and thyme.  Lay the slices of pancetta overlapping each other on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Place the chicken on top at one end and roll it up in the pancetta, like a burrito.  Remove the plastic and place the roll in a lightly oiled pan.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 160 degrees and the juices run clear.  Flip the roll halfway through the cooking time.  Remove from the oven and slice.

For orzo: Cook the orzo according to package directions.  Drain; toss with tomatoes and pesto.  Serve with chicken.



  1. The dish look divine…especially the pancetta wrapped chicken look so yummy! I can’t wait to make this for dinner.
    Thanks for the delicious recipe!

    Comment by Tes — September 27, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  2. […] are pretty beige and earth toney.  Perhaps serving the chicken and veg with the previously posted pesto orzo would be a good way to get some carbs AND some green on the […]

    Pingback by Recipe: Roast Chicken with Pasta Gratin « Trouble With Toast — October 4, 2010 @ 11:21 am

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