When I think of chicken parmesan, I think of those round aluminum containers, squishy overdone dry pasta and rubbery chicken smothered in cheese. It’s not terribly appetizing. It’s heavy. It’s carbs. And it’s not exactly I’m ever itching to order out. That and I’m really too cheap to order pasta out. But sometimes red sauce and chicken is really what you need to fuel you through to the next day. And with this at home version, self control when divvying up the pasta portions, and a little wine, this dinner really hits the spot.
If you’re as classy as me, you’re going to just end up stealing bites right from the skillet.
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 1 day-old baguette
- 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs finely chopped fresh basil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 15 oz can tomato puree
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 teas red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Take out some workday frustration and pound the chicken between two sheets of plastic or in a heavy duty bag to 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick.
Dice the baguette into cubes, and place in a food processor a few at a time with the motor running to make coarse crumbs. You want about 1 1/4 cups total when all said and done.
In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, about 3 minutes, stirring. Add 2 tbs parmesan cheese and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a plate or bowl and stir in the 2 tbs of the basil.
Preheat the broiler.
Return the skillet to the cook top and add the remaining olive oil. Season the chicken with 1/4 teas salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to another plate.
Return the skillet to the cook top and add the tomato puree, fill the can with water and add it to the skillet as well. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1 tbs of parmesan. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium / medium-low and simmer, stirring as needed until the sauce has thickened, 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Add the chicken back to the skillet and turn to coat. Top with remaining parmesan cheese and some of the bread crumbs. Spread the mozzarella cheese on top and the rest of the bread crumbs. Place under the broiler until the cheese has melted, 1 to 2 minutes.