Hello, Friday date night! I’m a big proponent of the at-home date night. You can spend a ridiculous amount of time on the first bottle of wine while leisurely cooking for each other. I love to divide and conquer the chopping of vegetables or the steps of a recipe. Chicken parmesan is a great meal to cook together with your honey.
I don’t know a single person that doesn’t love chicken Parmesan. Crispy chicken topped with a sweet tomato sauce and creamy cheese is just something that can’t be beat. It’s heaven on a plate, if you ask me.
I’ve made a lot of chicken Parmesan in my day. I’ve tried all sorts of coatings (fresh bread crumbs, stale/toasted bread crumbs, onion focaccia), and I’ve opened a jar of store-bought marinara more times than I’ve made a sauce from scratch. It’s one of those dishes that almost doesn’t require a recipe once you know the method. But, when you follow a recipe that works, you’ll get great results every time. I feel like the folks at America’s Test Kitchen got this recipe right. It’s fast, easy, and better yet: scaled down to serve just two.
If it wasn’t already obvious, I’m a sucker for small-scale recipes. Did you guess as much? There are some Italian dishes that are great leftover, but Chicken Parmesan, sadly, is not one of them. What’s a household of two to do? Oh, right. Buy this book!
I’m going through a pare down/ less-is-more phase in my life right now, and so I’m not letting any new cookbooks into my house until one goes out. But I’d happily hand over any cookbook in exchange for this one. Not only is it such a pleasure to read through a cookbook without having to mentally scale down all the ingredients (0.5 eggs, anyone?), but the folks at America’s Test Kitchen have a knack for nailing down the perfect recipe with clear instructions.
I have friends that don’t know how to cook that will reach out to me for recipes occasionally. I always send them to ATK, because the recipes are clear and easy to follow. If I’m in a good mood, I’ll even pay for their access behind the pay-wall so they can browse all the recipes on the ATK site. It’s a small investment on my end, but it frees up my phone for other uses besides sending screen shots of recipes and texting cooking instructions…other uses, like social media? So very important.
I’m sharing the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s latest cookbook The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook with permission below.
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 ounces whole-milk fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves
- 4 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- First, make the sauce: pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until coarsely ground, 6-8 pulses. Next, saute the garlic in the 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet until fragrant but not burned, about 2 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the tomatoes, then bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until slightly thickened. Off heat, stir in the basil, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.
- For the chicken and spaghetti: adjust an oven rack to be 4 inches from the broiling element. Turn the broiler to high.
- Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Beat the egg in a second shallow dish. Combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan in a third shallow dish. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken breaset in the flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.
- Heat the oil in a 10" large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Gently lay the chicken in the oil, and cook until golden brown on each side and the chicken registers 160 degrees (about 4-6 minutes per side). Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet.
- Divide the cheese over the chicken, and broil until the cheese melts. Serve with the tomato sauce.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in ample boiling water, and toss with tomato sauce before serving on the side.