Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana

After Christmas, my younger sister Anna came to visit us for a week. My in-laws were still here when she arrived. Since I knew the day I picked her up from the airport would be busy, I planned on us having leftover pizza from the previous night for dinner. Somehow I made a gross miscalculation on how much pizza we would eat and there was definitely not enough for another dinner. I had to figure something else out, and quick! I knew I had chicken and spaghetti on hand, and I remembered seeing this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's site, so I decided to give it a shot. There were a few ingredients I needed, so I sent my father-in-law out to pick out the wine (since I don't drink and have no idea how to pick out a decent one) and the kids and I hauled Anna to Wal-Mart with us after picking her up from the airport to get the rest of the missing ingredients, including fresh parsley among other things.

Now it's time for a little confession. I have never fried chicken before. Not only that, and this is more embarrassing, I have never cooked with fresh herbs before. Oh, except one time using mint. I always just take the easy and cheaper route and use dried herbs.

So as dinner prep was under way, I was exulting in the fact that I was about to use fresh parsley for the VERY FIRST TIME!

My mother-in-law, who was holding Ellia and watching from the sidelines, sweetly piped, "Isn't that cilantro?"

"Oh, No!" I exclaimed. "I'm sure the label on the shelf said it was parsley. I'm SURE of it!"

I examined the leaves. I sniffed them. I nibbled one carefully.

It was, without a doubt, Cilantro.

And even worse, it had a nice little tag wrapped around the stems that I had somehow missed seeing clearly labeled "Cilantro".

Argh. I have never seen an Italian recipe including cilantro....Mexican and Asian, but not Italian. I wasn't about to put it in my sauce. So dried parsley it was. Thank goodness I had some! Anna had taken over the cooking so I could nurse my wee baby at the "parsley-adding" moment, so I don't know how much she used. But it was delicious. I will try fresh next time, though. Because I know how to tell what it is now.

Okay, so this dish was fabulous! We all just loved it and thought it was just as good as the Olive Garden, if not better.


4 whole (up To 6) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded flat
½ cups all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 whole medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cups wine (white or red is fine)
3 cans (14.5 Oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons sugar
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 - 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 pound linguine or spaghetti

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.
Sprinkle flattened chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides and dredge in flour mixture. Set aside.
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.
Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently 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.
(At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook spaghetti until al dente.)
Pour crushed tomatoes into wine mixture 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 chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.
Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan and mozzarella. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.

Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.

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