Monday, June 11, 2012

Classic Chicken Parmesan

I am consistently disappointed in chicken parmesan whenever I order it in restaurants. It always just tastes so bland to me, like the chicken or the sauce isn't seasoned enough. I've made several different recipes inspired by chicken parmesan in some way (these patties, these meatballs, and these open-faced sandwiches, to name a few), but I'd never tried making a classic version myself at home. But when I saw the Pioneer Woman make her recipe on an episode of her show, I knew that had to change.

I wasn't surprised that we liked this as much as we did; it's Ree, after all, and everything she makes is pretty amazing. I made a couple of changes to her recipe (I used white wine instead of red and basil instead of parsley, and gilded the lily with some fresh mozzarella), and I'm happy to have this recipe in my arsenal. It's good enough for company but easy enough for a weeknight dinner, and that's my kind of meal.

Classic Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to a uniform thinness
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cups white wine
3 14.5-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced into a chiffonade
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
1 pound thin whole wheat spaghetti, cooked to al dente

1. Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate. Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.

3. Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

4. Pour in crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking time, add most of the basil and give sauce a final stir.

5. Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Slice mozzarella into 8 slices and add two slices to each piece of chicken. Simmer until cheese is melted.

6. Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top or on the side and sprinkle with more basil. Serve immediately.

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