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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana

Nothing hits the spot when you're holed up waiting for spring more than something warm, hearty, cheesy, and well paired with a glass of wine.

We settled on Chicken Parmigiana for dinner last night and were well rewarded for our efforts.

You'll need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded thin and seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides)
Flour (in a shallow dish - for dredging)
3 eggs + 2 Tb water + salt + pepper (beaten, in a shallow dish - for dipping)
Panko bread crumbs (in a shallow dish - for dredging)

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella - thinly sliced
4 Tb grated parmesan

Marinara Sauce

1 box Spaghetti or other pasta

Getting Started:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and place cooling racks over the foil.

Put marinara sauce in a medium pot over medium-low heat to simmer.

Unless you have a sous chef who is willing to slice your mozzarella while you cook the chicken, now would be a good time to cut the mozzarella cheese into thin slices.

Now would also be a good time to put your pasta water on to boil. I salt my pasta water. It, allegedly, seasons the pasta.

Heat a large skillet (I use cast iron) with 1/4" of olive oil over medium high heat. Don't be skimpy with the oil. The chicken won't absorb it all, but unless there is sufficient oil in the pan the panko will not cook properly.

Now you're cookin':

Once chicken breasts have been pounded thin and seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper, dredge each breast in flour, dip each breast in the egg wash, then dredge each breast in the panko crumbs.

When the surface of the oil shimmers in the pan and the oil immediately bubbles around the outside of a panko crumb dropped into the pan it is time to start cooking the chicken.

Cook each breast for approximately 2 minutes on each side until the panko coating is crisp and golden.

Place the chicken on the racks and top with a ladle of sauce, a few slices of mozzarella cheese, and 1 Tb of parmesan cheese.

Put the chicken in the oven for 7 minutes to ensure the chicken is cooked through and to melt the cheese.

Once the chicken is in the oven, add your pasta to the boiling water. Most spaghetti noodles cook in about 7 minutes so your pasta will be done at the same time as your chicken.

Dress your plates with one chicken breast and as much pasta, sauce, and grated parmesan cheese as your heart desires.

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