Simple Chicken Parmesan Recipe
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (quality varies dramatically; I prefer Redpack, Progresso and Muir Glen brands)
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), halved crosswise
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup dry bread crumbs
- 8 ounces spaghetti or linguine
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing at the table
step 1: In a large saucepan, heat garlic and 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat until garlic starts to sizzle. Stir in tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a simmer; simmer until sauce thickens a bit and flavors meld, 10 to 12 minutes. Cover and keep warm. (Remember, this makes twice the amount of sauce you need, so put aside half for another meal.)
step 2: Put chicken pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound, using your fists or a heavy pan, until the cutlets are about 1/4-inch thick.
step 3: Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large soup kettle.
step 4: In a pie pan, beat egg until well-blended. In another pie pan, mix bread crumbs and more black pepper. Preheat broiler.
step 5: Working one cutlet at a time, dip both sides of each in beaten egg, then in bread crumbs. Put cutlets on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet (this step helps breading stay put).
step 6: Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. When oil starts to shimmer, add cutlets and saute until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes total. Wash and dry the wire rack and return to cookie sheet. As the cutlets saute, cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.
step 7: Transfer cutlets to clean wire rack over cookie sheet. Top each with a portion of the cheeses. Broil cutlets, 4 to 5 inches from heat source, until cheese melts and is spotty brown.
step 8: Drain pasta. Put a cutlet and a portion of pasta on each of 4 plates. Spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of sauce over part of each cutlet, then sauce the pasta as desired. Serve with extra Parmesan.