Chicken sorrentino is a classic Italian recipe and for good reason — it has a bit of everything you love all in one dish. Breaded chicken is topped with prosciutto, eggplant and plenty of cheese and baked in a hearty tomato sauce for an irresistible dish you can easily make at home.
This is one of those dishes that’s just impossible not to love. Thinly pounded chicken cutlets are dredged in flour — except we use almond meal in this recipe — and baked along with eggplant slices coated in olive oil.
The chicken is then assembled in a baking dish on top of a simple tomato sauce with the eggplant and slices of prosciutto on top. Coated in grated cheese, it bakes until bubbly and gets sprinkled with fresh basil to serve.
I mean, how in the world could you not fall in love with that? It’s cozy, it’s comforting and it’s got everything you love about Italian cuisine all together in a 9″x13″ dish.
If you’ve ever been to the greater metropolitan New York area, you’ve likely seen chicken sorrentino on a restaurant menu somewhere. But if not, now you can make it at home and enjoy everything it has to offer.
If you like dishes like chicken parmigiana or chicken marsala — try our stuffed chicken marsala for an even better version — you will fall quickly in love with this recipe.
What does chicken sorrentino mean?
Sorrentino refers to a region of Italy — Sorrento, or more broadly, the Sorrentine peninsula located in southern Italy.
There’s not much actual information on whether chicken sorrentine originated in Italy or if it’s just something that Italian-Americans, most likely from New York, made up similar to the famous Utica greens recipe.
Either way, it’s a delicious creation drawing on Italian roots and will not disappoint.
Ingredients needed to make this dish
- Thin chicken cutlets — the recipe walks through how to tenderize the chicken but you can save yourself time by buying thinly sliced cutlets — often called scallopini — from the store. Scallopini are used in almost all classic Italian dishes such as marsala, milanese, francese, saltimbocca and parmigiana.
- Eggplant — a small sized eggplant is all that’s needed for this recipe. A few long strips get placed on top of the chicken.
- Prosciutto — probably my favorite part of the whole recipe. The thin slices offer a nice salty flavor to the dish. Serrano ham or another similar thinly sliced cured pork could be substituted.
- Tomatoes — we use a simple jarred passata (strained pureed tomatoes) for the tomato sauce but you can also use diced canned tomatoes or crushed tomatoes.
- Parmigiano Reggiano — this can be swapped with Pecorino Romano if desired.
- Mozzarella — nothing beats the melty goodness of grated mozzarella in an Italian dish. Try fontina cheese in place of mozzarella if you don’t have it. It also melts really well and offers great flavor.
- Red wine — this optional ingredient brings a nice touch of added depth to the tomato sauce. You can also use marsala wine or a dry white wine here.
- Almond flour — is what’s used for dredging the chicken cutlets. Traditionally, all purpose flour is used and can be substituted if desired.
- Egg — a quick dip in an egg bath helps the almond flour stick to the chicken.
- Garlic — this gets added to the sauce. Can you even call a recipe Italian without some garlic?
- Seasonings — a combination of dried herbs helps flavor the breaded chicken before baking.
- Olive oil — for drizzling over the chicken and eggplant before baking.
- Fresh basil — for serving and bringing that lovely freshness to the final dish.
How to make chicken sorrentino: step by step
Pollo alla sorrentina, as it’s sometimes referred to, may seem like a bunch of steps but the recipe is quite simple. The entire dish can be ready in under an hour.
Prepare the chicken and eggplant
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Start by preparing the eggplant and slicing it lengthwise in 1/2″ thick pieces. Season it with salt and let it sit while you prepare the chicken. Doing this draws out the moisture in the eggplant and tames the bitterness.
If you’re starting with regular chicken breasts and not thinly sliced cutlets, wrap each piece of chicken in plastic wrap then pound with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer until evenly thinned out.
Bake the chicken and eggplant
Unwrap the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl and add the almond flour, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper in another.
Dip the chicken in the egg then dredge in the almond flour mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Add the eggplant slices to the same baking sheet and drizzle both with olive oil.
Bake for 15 minutes then flip and bake for another 12-15 minutes until the chicken is golden brown and the eggplant is soft.
Make the marinara sauce
While the chicken and eggplant bake, make the sauce. Add olive oil to a sauce pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and red wine and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon half the sauce into a 9″x13″ baking dish. Place the baked chicken on top of the sauce then layer a slice of eggplant and prosciutto on top.
Top with the remaining sauce then the grated parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until bubbly and golden.
Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
Best tips & tricks to making this recipe
This chicken sorrentino recipe may seem overwhelming with a bunch of steps but it’s really not hard at all. Here are a few tips to keeping this recipe easy and tasting delicious:
- Read through the entire recipe start to finish before beginning.
- Have all your ingredients out and prepped before starting to cook.
- Use thin cutlets. It may be tempted to skip the tenderizing step but making the chicken thin and smaller helps keep it tender and cook more evenly.
- Don’t overcook the chicken during the first bake. Remember it bakes again at the end so it’s ok if the internal temperature is not quite 165°F when you pull it out of the oven the first time around.
- Taste and season! Make sure the sauce is seasoned to taste with plenty of salt. It’s a big flavor component of this dish and needs to be adequately seasoned.
Here are the answers to some common questions regarding how to make chicken sorrentino.
Can I pan fry the chicken and eggplant?
Yes, some recipes have you cook the chicken and eggplant in a skillet on the stove top rather than baking. This is definitely possible but I find that you need to use a lot more olive oil or butter in the pan and it’s much messier and hands on than just baking in the oven.
Baking the two allows you to make the sauce at the same time, lessening the total cooking time of the recipe.
Can I use breadcrumbs instead?
Instead of dredging in almond flour or all-purpose flour, some people use breadcrumbs on the chicken and the eggplant. This is really a personal preference. Use breadcrumbs if you like, I prefer the texture of the chicken dredged in a flour.
How can I make this in advance?
Certain portions of this recipe can be made ahead of time. For instance, the sauce can be made and stored in the fridge a day or two in advance.
You can also pre-bake the chicken and eggplant ahead of time. Assemble and bake off before you plan to serve for the freshest tasting meal.
Can this be frozen?
The best way to freeze chicken sorrento is to make the recipe all the way through the assembly process. Don’t bake it off but freeze it at this point.
Thaw under refrigeration and let come to room temperature before baking until golden brown.
What to serve with this dish
To keep things in the same cuisine, try another classic Italian dish like cacio e pepe pasta on the side of chicken sorrentino.
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! I’d love to know how it goes. Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Tag @runningtothekitchen on Instagram & Facebook.
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- salt and peper
- 1 large eggplant about 300g
- 22 oz passata (strained, pureed tomatoes)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 – 2 tbsp fresh basil finely sliced
- Slice the top off the eggplant and cut into 4 slices lengthways, about 1/2 inch thick. Season generously with salt and leave to rest for 10 minutes while you make the chicken. This will remove the bitterness. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Cover the chicken breasts in plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to flatten. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, mix the almond flour, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk the egg.
- Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture, coat completely in almond mixture and place on your prepared baking sheet on one side. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. On the other half of the pan add the eggplant and brush with 2 tablespoons oil on both sides.
- Bake the chicken and eggplant for 15 minutes on one side, flip and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and the eggplant is soft.
FOR THE SAUCE:
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on a medium / low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until soft. Add the tomatoes and red wine and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 – 15 minutes on a low heat until thick, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add half the sauce to the bottom of a baking dish (9 x 13inch). Add the cooked chicken breasts on top of the sauce, followed by a slice of prosciutto.
- Top with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and parmesan and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve with fresh basil.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.