Chicken Parmigiana is one of the most popular restaurant meals at Italian eateries which is amazing really, because it's pretty darn easy to make at home although you'd never know that because it looked like a bomb hit my kitchen last night. You can count on that admission being the cause of several loud groans and some laughs from my twin sister because when we were growing up, I cooked and she did the dishes, and did the dishes, and did the dishes. Do you get my drift?
As it turned out, my sister's a long way from here and it was my turn to clean up the kitchen last night. I have to admit it took a while, but this dish was worth every minute. Really just a chicken paillard in a fancy Italian dress, the chicken breasts are pounded, then dredged in flour, egg and panko crumbs and fried quickly and then slathered in marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella before getting a quick finish in the oven.
By the way, I scratch made the marinara, although a good jarred variety would do in a pinch. I added some of our homemade pancetta because we love the flavor, along with some herbs and spices and fresh basil and a splash of dry marsala wine to. While it may not be a "true marinara" sauce, it's the way we like it. After all, isn't that why we all cook in the first place?
Julia might roll over in her grave as I say this, but personally I don't think there's a right or a wrong way to cook anything. I mean obviously some things turn out better than others, but In the same way that we have individual likes and dislikes in art and music, we have individual preferences as far as food goes too. Just because we enjoy highly flavored food in our house doesn't mean we're bad people or we're doing it wrong.
The point I'm trying to make is this - if our recipes are too spiced up for you, or you don't happen to like garlic, or you're not into pancetta, or you have an aversion to pepper, or you like white wine rather than red, or you're not into marsala, for heaven's sake just leave it out and do your own thing. It's not a big deal and for sure I don't think the kitchen police are going to care one iota. Capiche?
Chicken Parmigiana with Tomato Sauce
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup panko crumbs (or more as required)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh basil and parsley
Red pepper flakes as desired
Cooked pasta of your choice
Wash and dry chicken breast pieces and place each between two pieces of plastic. With a mallet, pound until approximately one quarter inch thick. Season on both sides of each pounded chicken breast. Dredge in flour, then dip into egg mixture making sure all sides are well coated, then coat in panko crumbs, pressing crumbs onto chicken with your fingers. Set aside and repeat with remaining chicken.
Preheat oven to 400. Place vegetable oil to a depth of a quarter inch in a large skillet and heat over medium high heat until very hot. Add chicken pieces, two at a time and fry on both sides until golden brown – about 2 minutes per side. Move to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken. Top each browned chicken breast with some tomato sauce, then top with a few slices of mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through. To plate: place approximately 1/3 cup on sauce on bottom of plate; top with piece of chicken and garnish with basil and parsley. Serve with plain pasta and pass the red pepper flakes. Download Chicken Parmigiana with Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup marsala wine
1 teaspoon sugar
2 – 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes with juices, pureed with immersion blender
1 – 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven and add pancetta. Cook over medium low heat until fat is rendered and pancetta is crisp. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft, stirring often – about 10 minutes. Add pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Cook stirring for 1 minute, then add marsala wine. Cook for 30 seconds, then add sugar, tomatoes and tomato paste. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often then reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook for 1 hour or until sauce is thickened to your preferred consistency.
A year ago - Macaroni and Cheese