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Simply Delicious Chicken Parmesan

Posted on: February 14th, 2012

Chicken parmesan is one of those dishes that every cook loves – its so easy to make, but tastes like a million bucks, if you do it right.  Great chicken parmesan is moist on the inside and crispy on the outside with a nice cheesy flavor. Read on for a recipe and tips…

The Chicken Parmesan from Tony’s Market – wonderfully crisp when reheated in a 425-450° oven.
Served here with Tony’s Marinara and DeCecco Pappardelle Pasta.

Chicken breast is very lean, so if it gets overcooked, even a little bit, it can turn out very dry.  The perfect cooking temperature for a boneless skinless chicken breast is 145° internal – so an accurate meat thermometer and a good eye are key.

Chicken breast is perfectly safe when cooked to 145°, but if you insist on cooking longer, another trick is to brine – soaking it for several hours in a blend of kosher salt, herbs, sugar and water.  But only brine NATURAL chicken breasts – most chicken on the market (70% plus) is injected with water and chemical flavorings, or tumble vacuumed with phosphates so it will suck up more liquid (up to 20% by weight!).  Increasing the water content will keep the chicken moister when overcooked (and increase profits!). Personally I prefer natural chicken that’s cooked just right. Don’t worry, we only offer natural chicken at Tony’s Markets.

As for crispiness, you could also use some or all Panko crumbs for breading – they turn out wonderfully crisp, especially when fried.  Happy cooking!

Chicken Parmesan

-8-10 oz strand or ribbon pasta (I suggest pappardelle)
-1 jar Tony’s Marinara or Vodka sauce, or more to taste
-4 Tony’s Italian Chicken Cutlets, or 4 chicken breast halves*
-Picual olive oil or canola/olive oil blend, as needed for sauteing
-4 thick slices cheese (mozzarella, provolone or asiago fresco – or 8 slices fresh Mozzarella)
-¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano

Suggested Accompaniments: Pasta and roasted vegetables; tossed salad; garlic bread (all available at Tony’s).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Begin cooking pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, warm Marinara or Vodka sauce over medium heat in a large skillet (big enough for both the sauce and pasta).

Preheat a second large heavy skillet over medium high to high heat – a seasoned cast iron or a heavy stick free pan suggested.

Add a swirl of oil and when shimmering, add chicken cutlets and brown nicely on both sides, cooking to about 3/4 way done – about 2-3 minutes per side.

Transfer cutlets to a parchment lined cookie sheet and top each with slices of cheese, then spoon 1-3 TBS of warmed sauce (to taste) on top of each cutlet and then sprinkle each with about 1 TBS grated Parmigiano Reggiano.  Place in the top of preheated oven, convection fan on if available to melt cheese and finish.  Remove from oven at 145° internal, and rest for a few minutes before serving.  Can also be broiled briefly to toast the cheese, if desired.

Meanwhile, toss pasta in simmering sauce and simmer for several minutes to marry. Serve cutlets over pasta paired with colorful vegetables. Serves 2-4.

– Chef Mick (Michaelangelo) Rosacci, www.TonysMarket.com — www.TonyRosacciCatering.com

Notes:
* To make your own cutlets, have butcher flatten boneless skinless chicken breast halves to 1/4 inch thick or less. Season with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, dip in beaten egg and then roll in Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.  Variation:  This can also be made with boneless chicken breasts that have not been flattened for nice thick pieces.

** Eggplant parmesan: The recipe is the same, start with 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick slices of eggplant, sprinkle with Kosher salt and place in a colander to ‘weep’ out extra moisture for 20-40 minutes or so, dab dry and proceed to make cutlets and cook as above.

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