Monday, August 27, 2007

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan

Crunchy chicken, gooey spotty brown cheese, pasta and tomato sauce with basil plucked fresh off the plant, how can you go wrong? It's been a while since I've made Chicken Parmesan and I had forgotten how easy and quick it was to make. The whole meal took less than 30 minutes and drew raves from Steven, my most scrutinizing critic. It was absolutely delicious over a hearty plate of spaghetti but I imagine it would make a fantastic sandwich too.

- For the chicken cutlets, you can either take 2 large chicken breasts and slice them in half horizontally for 2 thin cutlets that require no pounding, or take 4 small chicken breasts and pound them evenly. Before pounding the chicken, remove the tenderloins since they tend to fall off very easily during pounding or cooking. You can reserve these tenderloins for chicken stir fry.

Chicken Parmesan (Parmigiana)
4 chicken cutlets (see note)
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp flour
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
3/4 C coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
16 oz. pasta (Spaghetti or Linguini)

Quick Tomato Sauce
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp olive oil
28 oz. diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes crushed
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 C basil leaves (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Making the Sauce: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and add the onions. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add the tomatoes, dried herbs, sugar, black pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens. Salt to taste. Keep warm and set aside.

Begin boiling water for the pasta. Meanwhile, beat the egg, and prepare two trays for the flour and the panko bread crumbs.

Salt and pepper the chicken cutlets. Lightly dredge them in flour, patting off the excess, then dip into the beaten egg, then press and coat both sides with panko. Set aside until all cutlets are breaded.

Preheat broiler (I used my toaster oven). Add your pasta and some salt to the boiling water. Cook the chicken while the pasta is boiling.

Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Pan fry the chicken cutlets until both sides are golden brown, about 2 - 3 minutes per side.

Transfer the chicken cutlets onto a tray lined with a wire rack. Mix the mozzarella and Parmesan together and cover each cutlet with some cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and spotty brown.

Meanwhile drain the pasta when it is finished. Roughly chop or tear the basil leaves and stir them into the sauce. Transfer the pasta and chicken to plates and spoon the sauce on top.

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