Music: Jeff Buckley – Corpus Christi Carol (we’ve been watching The Tudors)
This year for my REAL birthday (I’ve been celebrating since September) my family and I went to Peasant for dinner. We were all so impressed with the simple marinara sauce they served – I was even surprised my mother ordered it with all the amazing things on the menu. But man, were we glad she did. Since then I’ve been attempting to recreate their simple marinara and I’ve come pretty close. And so in honor of my Mother’s Birthday today I made her this!
A few years ago I was watching Lidia on PBS and she did a recipe for a Chicken Parmesan. I can’t seem to find it anywhere but I think I remember it.
What you’ll need:
For sauce – 2 35-ounce cans of tomatoes (San Marzano have a good rep– but a little salty for me. I like the Muir Glen kind), 15-20 whole leaves of basil, 4 cloves of garlic, ½ cup of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, 1 cup of water and ¼ cup of parsley. Red pepper flakes and ¼ cup of red wine optional.
For chicken – 4 chicken breasts, 1 cup of flour, 1 egg, salt and pepper, 1 cup of olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, fresh mozzarella and 4 leaves of basil.
Sauce: (my camera crapped out for some of this…forgive the lack of photos)
- Put tomatoes into a large mixing bowl and smush (technical term) with both hands (depends on how chunky you like your sauce. The large chunks will cook down too.)
- Finely mince garlic. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook garlic for about 2 minutes until golden.
- Pour in crushed tomatoes and 1 cup of water.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes if you like some heat!)
- Chop basil into thin slices. Finely chop parsley.
- Add basil and parsley to sauce and cover. Add wine if you have it. Let cook for 10 minutes.
- (At this point you can add ¼ teaspoon of baking power. It cuts the acidity from the tomatoes and its fun to watch in the pan – it’s like a science experiment).
- Remove cover and cook for additional 10 minutes.
- Bowl water for pasta (I used Rigatoni for this).
- Tenderize chicken breasts until they are about 1 ½ inches flat.
- Put flour, salt and pepper in one bowl and whisk egg in another bowl.
- Soak each chicken breast in egg and then cover with flour.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Once heated, add whole garlic cloves to oil.
- Add chicken breasts. Cook on each side for about 4 minutes.
- Cut mozzarella into thick slices.
- Add 5 ladles full of red sauce to the skillet. Place one basil leaf on each piece of chicken. Cover chicken with Mozzarella slice. Put lid on skillet and cook until cheese melts (about 5 more minutes).
- Drain pasta, plate and enjoy a melty cheese mess!