Italian to English Translation: What’s for dinner tonight? And the answer is Pollo Parmigiano!!! Chicken Parmesan!! The good stuff….no sauce from a jar, (Gah!) just good authentic, make your tummy smile, cause your Peeps to make Yum Yum noises Homemade Chicken Parm! Mmmmmmm….Ready?? Here’s whatcha need:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced, or pressed
2 Bay leaves
20 fresh Basil leaves, coursely chopped (or chiffonade if you’re Chef Vivi)
1 28 oz cans Whole Tomatoes, drained
4 skinless boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 lb spaghetti (more if your Peeps eat like Luke, my 1/2 lb only fed 3!)
all purpose flour (for dredging)
1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
2 cups Dried Bread Crumbs
4 oz Mozzerella, shredded
freshly grated Parmigiano
pinch of sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat a little olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add chopped onion, bay leaves and garlic. (I use a garlic press as I hate chopping the stuff. I give the clove a good whack with the press so the peel comes off, then presssss, Garlic Press Rocks!) Let that cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the basil and stir til its nice and fragrant.
Now about the tomatoes….you can crush them by hand if you’re into that sort of thing. I ain’t so I use this handy dandy gadget I got at a Pampered Chef party, called the Mix and Chop. (I use this thing to break up hamburger meat when its cooking, I mash potatoes with it, its very versatile!) I’m willing to bet an old fashioned potato masher would work great too…
How ever you smash ’em up, add them to the onions, garlic and basil. Throw in a pinch of sugar, and salt/freshly ground pepper to taste. Let that simmer on medium high for about 15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced a bit. You might be asking why I don’t just use canned diced tomatoes, here’s why: I think canned whole tomatoes taste better….that’s my story and you’ll never convince me otherwise! If you like your sauce chunky, then at this point it’s finished. If you like it a little smoother, like me, then dump it in the blender and give it a few quick pulses! Leave it in the blender cuz it makes it easy to pour in a minute…
Put the chicken between 2 pieces of waxed paper and whack the heck out of them with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until they are about a half inch thick. This step makes this dish a good one to make if you’ve had a bad day! Put your flour, beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, and bread crumbs into separate shallow dishes. Salt and pepper the chicken and dredge in flour, then dip in egg, then coat with bread crumbs.
In a large oven proof skillet or saute pan, heat some more olive oil. Brown chicken about 4 minutes per side (flipping only once) until it has a nice pretty color. If your pan isnt big enough to cook all the chicken at once without crowding, cook it in batches, put the cooked ones on a plate to rest while the others cook.
It’s time to grate your cheeses now if you haven’t already! Please, please, I’m begging you, listen to Grammy when I say pre-shredded cheese is cattivo (BAD)! Block cheese keeps better and is buon sappore! (GOOD TASTING) There really is a difference in the taste, and it only takes a couple minutes to shred 2 cups or so! I won’t sleep a wink worrying about my Blog Peeps out there eating wax covered pre-shredded cheese. And I’m grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep. It ain’t pretty….so do everyone a favor and Trust me on the cheese thing!
Once they’re all browned put them back into the pan and pour the sauce over them but reserve about a cup to mix with the pasta. Top each breast with mozzerella first, then as much parmesan as you can stand! Bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
Now, I normally don’t put basil leaves on before I put the chicken in the oven and not sure what the heck I was thinking (except it made my photo pretty)…the leaves turned into crunchy little black things. Duhhhhhh! I pulled them off before I served dinner. Don’t me like me….
While the chicken bakes, heat a pan of salted water to boil. Cook spaghetti, drain and mix with the reserved sauce.
Serve chicken on a bed of sauced spaghetti, THEN garnish with a fresh basil leaf! (A classic case of do as I say, NOT as I do!)
Ciao’ Bella! 🙂