Chicken Parmesan with Marinara Sauce
I don’t order this at Italian restaurants often because it is fairly simple to make at home. Do not let the long list of ingredients fool you, the sauce can easily be made ahead of time and the chicken is simply breaded and pan-fried. It may not be that difficult to make but there is a reason it remains on menus at restaurants, it is simply delicious.
For the marinara sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their liquid
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Salt & pepper
For the chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup fine breadcrumbs
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese ,divided
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
Vegetable oil, for frying, as needed
For the pasta:
1 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon sea or kosher salt
For the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter and melt, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is tender and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, basil and cans of tomatoes with their liquid, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon so that the sauce isn’t chunky. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. To make the sauce less chunky, I take about 3 cups of the sauce, let it cool, pulse it in a blender for 30 seconds then stir it back in with the rest of the sauce. It gives it a good consistency. Stir in the sugar then season to taste with salt and pepper.
While the sauce cooks, cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise and place each piece of chicken into a large plastic zip-top bag. Use a mallet to gently pound them so they are about ½” thick. Be careful that the meat does not break. To bread the chicken, set up three separate bowls. Place the flour in the first bowl. In the second bowl beat the eggs. In the third bowl combine the fine breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, garlic power, onion powder, parsley and rosemary.
Add enough vegetable oil to a large frying pan so that it is ¼-inch deep. Take a piece of chicken and dredge through the flour then the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs. Fry until the chicken is completely cooked through and golden brown on each side, about 8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil. Continue the process until all of the chicken is fried.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Pour in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Ladle in the enough of the marinara to lightly coat the pasta.
To serve: Place one piece of chicken on each plate. On the side of the chicken, serve pasta topped with extra sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Note: The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use.