Chicken Parmigiana with Homemade Plum Tomato Basil Sauce

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Sorry I am late in posting; between traveling by plane and catching up with last minute grading, I have been swamped!

I believe that Valentine’s Day is perfect for trying to impress your loved one; however, sometimes simple is best. My best friend’s (soon-to-be) husband loves chicken parmesan, and really wouldn’t be craving something gourmet or fancy. He has simple taste and there is nothing wrong with that. If anything, you should be glad. Your life is much easier knowing you don’t have to break the bank or that you don’t need to be particularly talented in cooking to make what he or she wants.

I, on the other hand, requested for Zach to make lobster tail, crab legs, and lamb. Valentine’s Day, and any other special, intimate occasion (such as an anniversary) requires you to know what your significant other desires. Whether this person has a simple palette, or an extremely expensive one does not matter. To show your love, you need to make something that will be impressive, but more importantly, thoughtful. Make a dish that shows that you were thinking of what he or she would love most. Impressive is not always expensive–it’s all about effort and thought. Period.

I made this chicken parmigiana (or parmesan for you non-Italian people) last night for my best friend, her fiancé, Zach, and me, but I figured it would be nice to share this for those of you who need last minute ideas to enjoy your Valentine’s Day in. You could alternatively go out to eat today, but as a former waitress, I can assure you that there is nothing worse than going out today. Your food will take forever to come out, the service will be subpar, and you might feel rushed by the massive amounts of people waiting for you and your honey to scoot. I say stay in for this day. Besides, nothing says love like effort, right? It could be equally romantic to eat-in, if not, more so. 🙂

Stay tuned for tomorow’s post! For those of you who are looking for the ultimate Italian dessert,  I will be posting my infamous tiramisu on Monday. Unfortunately, it is not a dessert you can make last minute; you need to make it the night before, but is absolutely divine! 🙂

The Sawwwwce

  • 1 (28 ounces) can whole tomatoes (Please try to get plum tomatoes–and if available, San Marzano!)
  • 1 {28 ounces) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 ounces) can crushed tomato
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 yellow onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (use a garlic press if you have it!)
  • 12-18 leaves of fresh basil chiffonade
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup of sugar (do it in small increments! This is to counteract the bitterness of the tomatoes, but too much sugar isn’t good either!)
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine
  1. Mince up your garlic cloves, and dice up your onion finely.
  2. In a large pot, pour some olive oil and sauté your onion. Stir around frequently.
  3. Once the onion becomes aromatic, add the garlic. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC. It’s an Italian sin. Stir baby, stir!
  4. Now that the garlic and onion have been cooking together for about two minutes, add your half a cup of dry red wine and reduce for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Next, add your crushed tomatoes. Stir. As the sauce is bubbling, hand crush the tomatoes (whole tomatoes) so they are chunky, and add the diced tomatoes. As you stir, mush up the tomatoes (diced) with the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Throw in all the spices (reserve the butter towards the end of the sauce process.)
  7. Leave the sauce to simmer on medium for at least an hour. The longer, the better.
  8. Towards the end, add sugar (small bits at a time) until the acidity is counteracted. Right before you’re about to fry the chicken at the end, add the butter and more fresh basil, if desired. Taste your sauce–always! Leave the sauce to simmer on low while you’re making the pasta and chicken.

The Pollo

  • 2 1/2 cups of Seasoned Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breast (buy them thinly sliced or pound them thinly!)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons of garlic powder (divided in two: 1 1/2 in seasoned breadcrumbs and 1 1/2 in with whisked eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper
  • 6  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups of my sauce, your sauce, or the jarred sauce (eep!)
  • 3 cups coarsely-grated, well-drained fresh water-packed mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided** (optional, but recommended)
  1. Pre-heat your oven 350 degrees, set up your dredging stations, and get your chicken out of the refrigerator.
  2. Place chicken breast halves between sheets of plastic wrap.  Using a meat mallet, pound chicken breasts to 1/3-inch thickness.  Alternatively, go to the butcher/grocery store and purchase chicken breasts that are thinly sliced. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt & pepper.
  3. Place flour in a large dish and add salt and pepper.  Whisk eggs to blend in a separate large dish. Add parmesan cheese and garlic powder to the eggs and whisk. Place breadcrumbs in yet another large dish.  Add more parmesan and garlic powder to the breadcrumbs. Coat each chicken breast with flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. Make sure you have a dry and a wet hand!
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. (Make sure you use butter as that will counteract the high smoking point). Working in batches, add chicken to skillet and cook until browned (about 4 minutes per side, adding more butter as needed). Transfer chicken breasts to a platter, and drain the oil by placing a paper towel underneath (change the paper towel as needed.)
  5. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of a large roasting dish (I used a 9 x 13). Arrange 1 layer of browned chicken breasts over the sauce.  Spoon 2 cups of sauce over that layer, or you may do what I do which is do about 1/3 cup of sauce per chicken cutlet. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella, Parmesan & Pecorino over.  Repeat with remaining chicken, sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan & Pecorino.
  6. Bake until cheeses melt and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. If you are making pasta, now would be the time to boil water and make spaghetti (once the water boils, it takes about 10 minutes.) Make sure you stir your pasta and make salty, salty water for the pasta!) Drain and add a few ladles of your sauce.
  7. Serve the spaghetti with sauce on a plate. Throw some grated cheese on top. Next, put the chicken parmigiana cutlet on top. Add more grated cheese (you get the idea). Eat immediately and enjoy!






One thought on “Chicken Parmigiana with Homemade Plum Tomato Basil Sauce

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s