Chicken Parmigiana

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The other night I was in the mood for Italian food. After searching the fridge and my pantry, I decided to make one of my favorites, chicken parmigiana, since I had all but a couple of the ingredients.

Before I get into the recipe, just a note on pasta sauce. I personally prefer to make my own pasta sauce, but if you have a jarred pasta sauce that you like, by all means use that instead of making your own.

Pasta Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 2-28 oz. cans of plum tomatoes
  • 1-14 oz. can of crushed or diced tomatoes (If you prefer a chunkier sauce, use diced tomatoes.)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 roma tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste (I usually start with 1 tsp. of salt & 1/2 tsp. of pepper and add more later if needed.)
  • Italian seasoning to taste (I usually start with 1 1/2 tsp. and add more later if needed.)
  • pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Once to oil is hot, add in the diced onion. After the onion has been cooking for about a minute, add in the minced garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce covered for at least 30 minutes.
  3. After the sauce has been cooking on low for about 20 minutes, check the seasoning and add more if needed. Of course, the longer you let the sauce cook, the richer the flavor will be. I usually cook mine for at least 45 minutes, but sometimes longer if I have the time. When sauce is done cooking, remove the bay leaves, turn of the heat, and set aside.

Chicken Parmigiana:

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 C breadcrumbs (plain or panko)
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 C parmesan, grated or shredded
  • 1/2-3/4 lb. spaghetti, depending on how many people you are serving
  • salt & pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh basil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove any excess fat from the chicken breasts and pound them until they are thin. If you do not have a meat tenderizer, a rolling pin makes a good substitute for pounding out chicken. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Put breadcrumbs in a shallow, wide dish or bowl and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Put flour in another dish or bowl and season with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs in another dish or bowl with a couple tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil seasoned with salt. Once the water comes to a boil, cook the spaghetti uncovered for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and add back to the pot with some of the pasta sauce.
  5. Dredge the chicken breast with flour and tap off any excess flour. Coat the chicken breast on each side with egg. Cover the chicken breast with the breadcrumbs. Repeat for each of the chicken breasts and put the chicken onto a plate.
  6. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and when the oil is hot, cook chicken breasts (no more than 2 at-a-time) for a couple minutes on each side. Place chicken in a single layer in a greased baking dish.
  7. Spoon some of the pasta sauce onto each of the chicken breasts. Top with mozzarella cheese, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, and sprinkle some Italian seasoning on top. Bake the chicken for 7-8 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted.
  8. Plate the spaghetti and and chicken parmigiana and garnish with fresh basil.

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