Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicken Parmesan (Hold the Parmesan)

   We (Sergio and I) definitely learned to love our goat cheese after our trip to Italy, especially the parmesano romano and the pecorino.  However tempting it may be to have a constant stock of each at home they are imported and expensive items.  Most recipes call for pre-grated parmesan which is just as stinky and salty but sort of sad in comparison.   In Italy these cheeses are eaten thinly sliced with a piece of toast and a dollop of hot and sweet red pepper jam, yum!  So, since I didn't have any of this wonderful cheese on hand so I omitted the recipe's namesake and still ended up with something tasty  enough to talk about.

Ingredients:

1 Large boneless chicken breast
1 Cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 Egg lightly beaten
2 Tlbspn Olive Oil
Dry pasta of your choice  I used Linguine
Boiling salted water

Pasta Sauce:
1 Large 28oz can of peeled plum tomatoes
1 Small 8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 Peeled garlic cloves
1 Tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 Tsp Red pepper flakes

   Thanks to many episodes of "Good Eats" I've come to understand the importance of not cooking on a cold pan and also letting your proteins rest outside of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes after it's been defrosted.  Taking this into account start by boiling a large pot of salted water.  Then cut the  chicken breast into 4 inch long pieces.  Once the chicken is cut heat up a heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil and the garlic cloves, once you start to smell the garlic add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes and italian seasoning.  Discard the garlic cloves and then smash the plum tomatoes carefully in order to extract their juices.

   Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat (do not add any oil or water to the pan).  Dip the chicken in the egg and then cover with the breadcrumbs, shake off the excess crumbs and add to the non-stick pan, repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.  Remembering here some more "Good Eats" tips do not overcrowd the pan add only 4 to 5 pieces at a time.  Each piece should only cook for 4 minutes on each side, then place the pieces into the simmering tomato sauce.  Depending on the type of pasta you are using drop the pasta in the boiling water and remember to stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to itself.

   Remove the chicken from the sauce after about 4 minutes each and set aside.  Finally, when the pasta is al dente add it to the pasta sauce with a quarter cup of the pasta water and let the sauce and pasta simmer for another few minutes.  I like to serve with plenty of sauce over the chicken.  I guarantee moist chicken an flavorful sauce with perfectly cooked pasta in under 30 minutes.  Enjoy!