Recipe: Chicken Parmigiana

Now that the holidays are over, reality is setting in terms of cooking dinner.  As in, now we have to cook dinner again.  Gone are the holiday parties, the out-to-dinners during the week, the loaded dining room tables at other people’s houses…nope, it’s back to the usual day to day of dishing it up ourselves.  And while I’m sure that lots of us are buckling down and eating light to make up for all the peppermint bark and roast beast and fruitcake, every once in a while it’s a good idea to have a dinner that is just a teeny bit of a splurge.  It makes keeping to the salad-eating all that much easier, and so when you do, you gotta make sure that splurge dinner is Worth It.

This chicken parm is Worth It.

First of all, it’s pretty easy to make…you’ll be from start to table in just a little over 30 minutes.  Second, it’s not the typical sauce from a jar and then buried in mozzarella cheese chicken parm.  The sauce is a delightful mix of crushed canned tomatoes (the only kind to deal with in the winter.  Try and find San Marzano or Muir Glen tomatoes…they are the best!)  You simmer them up with some wine, some garlic and onion, and it turns into a flavorful, light sauce that is going to go over your golden sauteed chicken breast just perfectly.  Now as for the cheese – it’s called Chicken Parmigiana for a reason.  The cheese in this recipe is actual parmigiana cheese, not the slab of mozzarella that is usually involved.  Use freshly grated parmigiana, and it will melt into a light and perfect covering of just the right amount of cheesy wonderfulness.

Now, this recipe calls for serving it on a bed of linguine, and it is pretty dang wonderful that way, but if you want to give a nod to your New Year’s eat lighter resolution, it would be lovely over a bed of sauteed baby spinach as well.  Either way, give this one a whirl sometime this month.  You’ll have the whole rest of the month for soup and salad, after all!

Chicken Parmigiana, from The Pioneer Woman

4 whole (up To 6) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Trimmed And Pounded Flat

1/2 cup All-purpose Flour

Salt And Pepper, to taste

1/2 cup Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped

4 cloves Garlic, Minced

3/4 cups Wine (white Or Red Is Fine)

3 cans (14.5 Oz.) Crushed Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/4 cube Chopped Fresh Parsley

1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 pound Thin Linguine

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.
Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.
At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook linguine until al dente.
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.
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 chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.
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. 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.

Kate Morgan Jackson is an editor, photographer, and writer. Her cooking and photography blog, Framed Cooks, is a collection of recipes and pictures designed for the busy cook, and her posts have been featured on a variety of sites including Glamour, Saveur, The Pioneer Woman, Steamy Kitchen, The Kitchn and Design Crush. She is a natural light photographer who specializes in portraits of children, animals and of course food of all kinds. Kate is a long-time resident of New Jersey, currently residing with her husband, daughter and rescued redbone coonhound in Upper Saddle River.