Monday, May 24, 2010

Chicken Parmesan



As I get more and more experienced in the kitchen there is a shocking revelation that becomes clearer and clearer. I, apparently, have been quite the picky eater. There are so many foods that I’ve never had before that are a pretty simple, basic, go-to food for so many people. Chicken parmesan is one of those foods. How is it possible that I’d eaten eggplant parmesan before ever having chicken parmesan?

Thankfully, along with me not-so-new-anymore cooking skills comes the willingness, not to mention desire, to try new foods. Including this gorgeously simple and flavorful chicken parmesan, and my first Giada recipe. Now I understand why it’s such a popular meal!

I liked that this recipe, while being slathered with melted cheese, felt lighter than I’d expected. So many chicken parmesan recipes that I went though were breaded (which I will be trying soon. I’m certainly not knocking the breading!) whereas this one stood out for it’s simplicity: chicken. spices. sauce. cheese. yum.


Chicken Parmesan with Simple Tomato Sauce
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Chicken Parmesan
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
salt and pepper
2 lbs chicken breasts, pounded 1/2 inch thin, or 8 chicken cutlets
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 500.

In a small bowl combine the olive oil, spices, salt and pepper. Brush each side of the chicken with the spiced oil.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan and heat until golden, approximately 2 minutes per side.  Remove the pan from the heat.

Sprinkle the chicken with a spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of each of the cheeses. Add a bit of the butter to the top of the chicken pieces.

Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted. Serve.

Simple Tomato Sauce 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 32oz cans crushed tomatoes
4-6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until tender, approximately 2 minutes.

Add the celery and carrot to the pot. Sprinkle in with salt and pepper. Sauté until all of the vegetables are tender, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the tomato, basil and bay leaves to the pot and simmer until sauce is thick, approximately 1 hour.

Remove the bay leaves from the pot and taste the sauce. If it is too acidic, add the butter to the pan, 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Remove half of the sauce from the pan and puree in a food processor until smooth. Puree the second half of the sauce, then mix back into the pot.

The remaining sauce can be cooled, then frozen.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

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