Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Turkey Breast with Garlic Herb Sauce is perfect for a small-scale Thanksgiving, Christmas or a nice family dinner any time of year!
Planning a small-scale Thanksgiving?
When a whole turkey for Thanksgiving is too much, a half turkey breast is about the right amount for up to four people and you may still have leftovers. This Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Turkey Breast with Garlic Herb Sauce that I make for my clients is elegant and fuss-free!
How to butterfly a turkey breast:
First, you’ll need to butterfly the turkey breast.
- Start on the thick rounded side and make a horizontal cut through the middle to within one inch of the other side.
- Try not to create any holes, but they can be fixed using butcher’s twine. Butcher’s twine is available at any area kitchen store or grocery store kitchen department. Also, the spinach, ricotta and Parmesan cheese combination stays intact and doesn’t usually run out.
If you don’t feel comfortable butterflying the turkey breast, ask your butcher to do it for you.
Why brine a turkey breast?
Because white turkey breast meat can be dry, I first brine the butterflied turkey breast in a water, salt and sugar solution. Make sure the turkey has not been injected or flavored in any way.
Brining works well for lean proteins by enhancing juiciness. Because protein and muscle fibers absorb liquid during the brining process, they start off juicier and will then end up juicier as long as the protein is not overcooked. The ratio of water, salt and sugar in brines is based on weight and can vary, along with the timing.
Here’s more information on brining turkey from Whole Foods.
What is the safe temperature for cooking turkey?
The safe temperature for poultry to reach is 165 degrees. With large pieces of protein, some carry-over cooking occurs so you’ll want to remove the turkey breast from the oven when it reaches 160 degrees. Carryover cooking means a protein continues to cook a bit more although it has been removed from the heat source.
It’s best to allow proteins to rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. When the protein rests, juices redistribute and get absorbed back into the meat fibers.
The creamy garlic and herb sauce has a hint of white wine and is easy to make on the stovetop while the turkey is resting. The recipe makes a lot so there is plenty to serve with mashed potatoes!
Helpful Tools and Equipment to make Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Turkey Breast with Garlic Herb Sauce (Affiliate Links):
- TURKEY BREAST
- 6 cups hot tap water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 (2-2 1/2 pound) boneless skinless turkey breast half, butterflied
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 container (15-ounce) ricotta cheese, whole milk or part-skim
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 bag (12-ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning (such as Penzeys)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- GARLIC HERB SAUCE
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (or as needed)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- TURKEY: Combine hot tap water, sugar and kosher salt in a large bowl. Mix well and wait for water to clear and sugar and salt to dissolve. Place turkey breast in the brine and refrigerate 4-6 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine shallot, ricotta, Parmesan, spinach, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper to taste in a small bowl.
- Remove turkey from brine, pat dry and spread out flat.
- Spread stuffing ingredients over the inside of turkey breast to within 1-inch of the edge.
- Starting with the narrow end, roll up and secure with butcher’s twine.
- Place turkey breast in a roasting pan. Dot the top with butter and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer registers at least 160 degrees in the center. Tent and let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch slices and serve with sauce.
- GARLIC HERB SAUCE: Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Add wine and continue whisking 1 minute.
- Slowly add 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, garlic and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 4-5 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir in cream. Add additional chicken broth if a thinner sauce is desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with turkey.
Amount Per Serving Calories 719 Total Fat 45g Saturated Fat 22g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 20g Cholesterol 125mg Sodium 15591mg Carbohydrates 51g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 3g Sugar 35g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 24g