Breaded chicken breasts smothered in tomato sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, then baked until melted and golden.
You might be thinking that this as just another ordinary blog post, but you would be mistaken. This is actually a love letter to my husband.
See, some people show their significant other love and affection through a back rub, sweet words or a thoughtful note, but not me. I show my love in chicken parm. There are certain things that make my better half’s heart go pitter-pat; the NY Giants, the Mets, an obscenely large flat screen tv (preferably showing a movie where things are being blown up) and chicken parmesan. Oh, and me of course.
On our first date many moons ago Steve whisked me off to his favorite Italian restaurant in Manhattan. This was not a trendy or hip place, but rather a neighborhood joint that served up hearty, saucy plates delivered to the table by career waiters, not aspiring actors. He figured an Italian, upstate NY girl like myself would be impressed by the authentic cuisine and checkered tablecloths instead of a place where you had to grease palms to cross a red velvet rope. Well, here we are almost twenty years later, so looks like he was right.
That date set the tone for our relationship. We over-ordered, over-drank and laughed until we cried. I actually ordered and ate my food, instead of pretending to be a girl that only liked salad. We shared a dessert even though we had no room to spare and he tucked me into a cab at the end of the night with a kiss on the cheek. I was smitten and knew that night that I would marry that guy. Everything just fit.
That night Steve ordered the first of many chicken parmesan’s that I would see him order in the years that followed. It’s his go-to whenever we eat at what we refer to as a “red-sauce” Italian restaurant. And even though I know it’s his favorite, I often resist making it at home, simply because he can get it at all of our usual places. I’m so busy trying new recipes, new techniques, new cuisines, who has time for chicken parm?
So, my husband’s all time favorite dish often gets pushed aside in favor of trying new and different recipes. He’s a good sport, but I realized that it’s not quite fair. So tonight it’s chicken parmesan for dinner. A tried and true recipe that everyone in our house adores. It may not require any fancy kitchen gadgets or specialty ingredients, but it’s made with love. And just like our first date, sometimes it’s those comfortable old favorites that make the most memorable meals.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 egg plus a splash of water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 5 cups tomato sauce
- mozzarella cheese sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbsp chopped basil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a 9 x13 inch baking pan.
Place chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper and pound until about a 1/2 inch thick.
Dredge chicken breasts in flour.
Combine bread crumbs, grated parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
Beat egg with water until frothy then dip coated chicken breasts in egg, then dredge in bread crumb mixture.
Heat oil in a non-stick pan until hot, but not smoking.
Saute chicken breasts in hot oil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour one cup tomato sauce into bottom of the prepared baking dish and lay chicken breasts in the dish.
Top with tomato sauce, then mozzarella, parmesan and 2 Tbsp basil.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
You can place it under the broiler for another minute or two to reach the desired color.
Top with remaining basil and serve.