We're reaching back into the archives today to bring back an old friend who's been sorely neglected for what must be about 15-20 years. Chicken Parm used to grace our dinner table back in the day on a very regular basis; not only because it was a family favorite, but because it earned that status by being over-the-top delicious... as in top 10 favorite delicious recipes in our recorded recipe history.
So that totally explains why I haven't made it in like 20 years, right? And why there has heretofore been not one mention of it on this almost-ten-year-old blog. So let's not post our very most favoritely nostalgic recipes that are not only delicious but totally make us happy. Good idea.
I think there's probably some perfectly sane reasoning behind this thinking that mostly has to do with calories and where's the whole grains and veg? and "but there's sort of like frying involved" and other such nonsense. But you'll be happy to hear that I totally got over myself and made it and The Husband made me swear an oath that it would not be another 20 years before I made it again. Alrighty then. I promise. And just in case you, too, have forgotten about the comforting deliciousness of chicken parmesan, this is how we make it...
Place some chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound them to an even thickness. If they're really large, I like to then cut them in half. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Then set up your standard breading station of flour, egg and parmesan breadcrumbs Dip each breast in the flour first, then the egg, then the parmesan breadcrumbs and set them on a rack over a sheet pan. You can place this in the fridge until you're ready to cook.
Then we're going to heat a bit of oil in a heavy pan... cast iron or Le Creuset or whatever you've got and once the oil is hot (about 350 degrees), pan fry the breasts (don't overcrowd them) for about 3 minutes per side. If they get dark faster than that, turn down the heat a bit.
Then we're going to top each breast with some fresh mozzarella slices and put them under the broiler until the cheese melts and gets brown and bubbly, place them on a bed of perfectly al dente spaghetti, drizzle with a little marinara sauce and a good sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
Repeat often. Here's the recipe...
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper
olive oil, canola or avocado oil (my personal favorite for high heat cooking)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (and more for serving)
2 eggs, beaten
Lots of your favorite marinara sauce (about 16 oz)
16 oz fresh mozzarella (two 8-oz balls), sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
1 lb spaghetti
Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Stir 1/4 cup kosher salt into the water. When it comes to a boil, stir your pasta into the water. Once the water comes back to the boil, lower the heat to medium hight and cook for at least one minute less than the package directions. Test for doneness two minutes before the package directions; it should be really al dente. Drain, but do not rinse. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in enough marinara sauce to just coat the noodles. Do not over-sauce the pasta. You can pass warm sauce at the table for those who would like more. Keep the pasta warm until you're ready to serve.
While your pasta water heats up, place your chicken (one at a time) between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. If the breasts seem overly large, you can cut them in half. Season each breast liberally with salt and pepper.
Place the flour in a bowl or pan. Mix the panko breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese and place in another bowl. Beat the eggs and place in a third bowl.
Dip each breast first in the flour (shaking off excess), then in the eggs and finally in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a wire rack as you finish dredging the remaining breasts.
Heat enough oil in a large skillet over medium high heat to cover the bottom by about an inch. When the oil is hot and begins to shimmer but not smoke, add 2 or 3 of the breasts to the oil (4 if your pan is large enough). Cook for about 3 minutes on each, side, lowering the heat if they seem to be browning too quickly. When done, return each breast to the wire rack.
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Place the breasts on the foil and top each with 2 slices of fresh mozzarella (to cover the breast). Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to melt the mozzarella. It should bubble and start to turn golden in spots.
To serve, place the sauced spaghetti on a large serving platter (or individual plate). Top with the chicken breasts. Drizzle each breast with a little marinara and another sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese and a final drizzle of olive oil. Top with chopped fresh parsley or basil, if desired. Serve with extra sauce and grated parmesan cheese at the table.