When I need some comfort food and a quick meal I think of Chicken Parmesan. You can’t beat the taste of crispy panko breaded chicken with melted mozzarella alongside spaghetti topped with the tastiest marinara sauce. Most marinara sauces are made from canned tomatoes but I like to use fresh tomatoes when I can. There’s just something special about fresh tomato sauce with fresh herbs. This is also a frugal meal as I can make a meal for 4 using just one chicken breast. Don’t worry, no one goes away hungry. A hunk of french bread and a salad makes this a complete meal.
Place the four pieces of chicken into a hot cast iron skillet with enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium high heat until the chicken browns on the bottom. Then turn over to cook the other side. These thin pieces should cook quickly, a few minutes on each side.
1 large Chicken Breast
6 – 8 slices Fresh Mozzarella
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 Egg, whisked
1 lb package Spaghetti
1 (16 ounce) pack of Campari Tomatoes, sliced in half (can sub Cherry Tomatoes)
1/2 Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 (8 ounce) package Baby Bella Mushrooms
1/4 cup White Wine
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 (6 ounce) can Tomato Paste
3 tablespoons Fresh Basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle olive oil and add onion. Saute onion a few minutes then add the mushrooms. Continue to saute until vegetables another minute or two, then stir in garlic to cook 15 seconds more. Add white wine to pan and scrape the bottom of the pan to pick up any stuck on bits. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth and let tomatoes cook until they break down. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher in the skillet. Stir in the can of tomato paste and blend the sauce in a blender or use a hand blender to make a smoother sauce. Add herbs, sugar, salt and pepper. Let simmer.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
Slice the chicken breast in half vertically. Pound out the pieces, then cut them in half again. In a medium bowl, make a breading of Panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. In another bowl whisk the egg. Run each chicken piece through the egg wash on both sides then through the breadcrumb mixture.
Heat a skillet with just enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is good and hot, add each piece of chicken to the pan. Cook over medium high heat for 2 – 3 minutes or until the breading is crisp and browned on the bottom. Flip the chicken pieces over to cook the other side an additional 2 – 3 minutes.
Assemble an ovenproof plate with spaghetti and marinara sauce. Top a piece of chicken with a slice or two of fresh mozzarella and place in the oven on the broiler setting. Broil just long enough to melt the cheese. Serve with a side salad and hunk of french bread.