Everyone always tells me how spoiled I’ve made my husband over the years. I can’t really argue with them, the man is definitely spoiled. He asks, I make.
Over the years we have tried countless chicken parm recipes. Some baked, some semi-homemade, all just OK. I can never really recreate the same dish from the fancy Italian restaurants at home, something is always just off. The sauce is too sweet, or the bread is soggy and bland, and each time we bite into it with the anticipation of amazing and walk away with “It was good, but it wasn’t great…”. And of course, being the person I am, I take it personally and get bummed out.
Well a few months ago I was looking through food magazines and came across an article about classic dishes with “light” and “rich” takes on them. The “light” version looked very similar to the parm I was used to making, but there in all it’s crowning glory was the most magnificent plate of “rich” chicken parm I had ever seen. I scribbled down the recipe and declared I knew what was for dinner!
I’ve made it a few times since, and every time I can’t help but rave about how delicious and rich and scrumptious it is. If I didn’t mind dying fat and happy, I would eat this once a week. It’s not a difficult recipe, or even too time consuming, and whats really great is it can be made ahead a bit (I wouldn’t freeze it, but a few hours ahead would probably be ok) and then finished in the oven. I serve mine with a side of spaghetti, but honestly it’s perfect on it’s own.
Rich Chicken Parmesan
2 large chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise and pounded to 1/4-1/2″ thickness
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup flour (or GF flour for a GF version)
1 cup Italian cheeses of your choice (provolone, Parmesan, mozzarella…etc)
1 tbsp butter (NOT margarine or substitute…leave out if you don’t have real butter)
Basic Marinara Sauce (this recipe alone is great to have on hand for any pasta dish)
1 large can of tomato paste
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 large yellow onion, diced
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
Start by coating a large saucepan in olive oil. Add the diced onion and sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic. Add seasonings, salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant, another 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and enough water to loosen the paste (less than a can’s worth). Add crushed tomatoes. Let simmer, covered for at least an hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.
The sauce should be thick and flavorful. Don’t add sugar, the tartness of the acidity in the tomatoes is a beautiful offset to the rich buttery flavor of the chicken.
Take your chicken breasts and butterfly them, slicing lengthwise until you have 4 pieces. Using a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken breasts flat between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, until 1/4″ thick.
Dredge the chicken breasts in flour until just coated, and set aside while you make your batter.
Whisk 2 eggs until beaten. Add in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Mix together until combined and let sit until it thickens.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil to the bottom of the pan, enough to pan fry, about 1/4″ deep. Add one tablespoon of butter and let it melt. When the oil mix bubbles, but before it browns, it’s ready.
Dip your chicken breast pieces into the egg and cheese mixture and turn to coat evenly. Add to oil and cook chicken until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
Flip over and cook another 4-5 minutes. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Take a large glass pan and add enough of the tomato sauce to evenly coat the bottom. Place chicken breasts on top of sauce.
Top each piece of chicken with additional sauce and then top with Italian cheeses.
At this point I usually am already cooking my spaghetti noodles in boiling water, or finishing up any other side I’ll be serving… the last step is to place the chicken in a 350* oven until the cheese is melted.
A quick 3 minute trip to the broiler will give you those delicious browned bits on top.
Serve with a pile of noodles and another heaping spoonful of sauce. If you want to get extra fancy, you could garnish with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.
This dish is a great “Look honey, I’m a catch, I can make amazing food!” meal. It’s also great for company because it can be made ahead and everyone will say “Oh my lord, that was amazing! I need the recipe!” or “FINALLY! My life is complete!” Plus it’s a decently cheap meal, chicken and pasta are very affordable, and most of the ingredients are basic staples.
So try it, tell me it’s NOT the best chicken Parm you’ve ever had… I bet it would even be great with veal or eggplant, or any other parm-esque foods. Comment below, and tell me how it went!