Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chicken Parmigiana and Chunky Tomato Sauce

So, I guess Mondays are designated "Italian" nights in our household. One of our favorite take out places (Mama Lucia's) has an awesome dinner deal on Mondays and if we can't make it there, we always seem to have some version of pasta. Tonight was chicken parm with tomato sauce, whole wheat spaghetti and roasted zucchini. And a few sips of Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cuvee.
The flash of my Kodak washed out the golden crust, but trust me it's there in all its cheesy glory.

Chicken Parmigiana
Adapted from Everyday Food. This is one of my favorite recipes to whip out with I feel like I just can't look at another boring, bland chicken breast. I used panko bread crumbs this time, which are fun for the fancy gourmet factor, but I have to say the crust sticks to the chicken better with old school Progresso crumbs in the big blue cannister.

  • 2 chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. bread crumbs
  • 3/4 c. grated parmesan (NOT Kraft. I may use store bought bread crumbs, but have to draw the line somewhere)
  • about a 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. tomato sauce (my current favorite version is below)
  • 4 slices of mozzarella
  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Set the breasts down on a flat surface and with a sharp knife, filet the breasts in half horizontally. Salt and pepper chicken on all sides.
  • In a shallow bowl, wisk egg. On a plate or pie pan, combine parmesan and bread crumbs (you could season with a little italian spice blend, if you like). Dip each piece of chicken first in egg, allow excess to drip off, then in crumbs/cheese. Press coating on if necessary.
  • Heat skillet over medium high and add enough olive oil to coat bottom. Once oil is hot, fry chicken until golden on each side, about 2 minutes on each side. Do not crowd the pan, work in batches if necessary.
  • Coat bottom of oven proof dish with tomato sauce. Place browned chicken on sauce and top each piece with a slice of mozzarella. Broil for a few minutes, until sauce starts to bubble and cheese begins to brown. Serve over pasta with extra sauce.

Quick and Chunky Tomato Sauce
First, let me start by saying that tomato sauce is not something I am very snobby about. I was raised on Prego and still keep a jar of some kind of Trader Joe's sauce in the cabinet. But if you have an extra 20 minutes or so and a few staple ingredients on hand, it's almost as easy to make yourself. I've dabbled with slow cooked recipes and fresh tomato versions, but I think this is a great combination of simplicity and flavor. Plus, Chris loves it and I cook to please my man, dontcha know.
The dirtier the pot, the better the sauce.
Makes about 4 cups

  • olive oil for pan
  • half a large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • salt (or Adobo salt for a bit more flavor. It's the wrong ethnicity, but we'll just call that "fusion cuisine")
  • sugar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Italian spice blend (oh shush - I've managed to kill off most of my fresh herbs this season.)
  • heat oil in bottom of dutch oven (or heavy bottomed pot) on medium high. Once oil begins to shimmer, add onion. When onion becomes translucent, turn down to medium, add garlic and stir about.
  • As onion and garlic cook, puree one can of tomatoes with juice. Add both cans of tomato to pot and stir. Swirl a bit of water in the cans and add that to the pot as well.
  • Throw in a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, a splash of vinegar and a few good shakes of Italian spices to taste.
  • Simmer 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  • If you need to justify owning your immersion blender, feel free to break it out now if you think the sauce is a bit too chunky (or pour a bit of cooled sauce into your blender and puree, then add back into rest of sauce).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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