Last night was a real rarity: John and I stayed in on a Saturday night. And it felt great….no heels, no uncomfortable skinny jeans, no fretting over what to wear. Oh yeah – and quality time with my husband! The Green Bay Packers were playing the Vikings so we decided to stay home and cook something scrumptious – my husband’s favorite: Chicken Parmesan. I love Chicken Parmesan for its versatility – it is simple yet seems perfect for a special occasion, can be healthy or rich depending on your oil/cheese consumption…and everyone always loves it. Here is how I make it:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- Pinch minced garlic (to taste)
- 1/2 cup good/decent red wine (I used Castle Rock Pinot Noir)
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 3/4 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- ~1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2-3 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cutlets work best if your butcher has them)
- 1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Mozzarella and Parmesan (for topping)
- Olive oil for pan frying
Start by pounding the chicken to 1/4 in thickness (I usually buy the chicken cutlets at the meat counter so I can avoid this). Place the chicken between two pieces of parchment paper and pound to thin out, then cut the chicken into smaller pieces if desired. S&P the chicken. Preheat the oven to 375.
Next, make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the wine, and let it reduce a bit. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and herbs and bring to a low simmer. Reduce the heat to low.
Place the beaten eggs in a large shallow bowl, and mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan in another. Dip the chicken in the eggs, letting the excess drip off, then the breadcrumbs. Use your fingers to pat the breadcrumbs onto the chicken, then spray with PAM to help them stick.
Spoon about half of the sauce into a large casserole baking dish. Heat about 1/4 cup olive oil in a large frying pan, over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken, several at a time, about 3 minutes or so on each side..until golden brown. Place the chicken in the casserole dish, over the sauce. Once all the chicken have been browned, place the dish in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, sprinkle the chicken with Mozzarella, then broil for a few minutes until melted.
Serve over pasta and with extra sauce (and more Parmesan!).