Cheese-Crusted Cutlets with Raw Sauce and Milanese-Style Rice Pilaf

Take advantage of summer tomatoes and basil when you make magnificent chicken Milanese topped with raw sauce and paired with rice pilaf.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • A splash of milk
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or 7-8 small Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or thinly sliced
  • 3-4 stems fresh tarragon, leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)


Pre-heat the oven to 275°F.

Butterfly the chicken breasts open by cutting into and across, but not all the way through, the breasts with a sharp knife. Lightly pound out the chicken under plastic wrap and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Set up a breading station: one pan of flour, one pan of eggs beaten with 2 tablespoons flour and a splash of milk, and one pan of breadcrumbs seasoned with nutmeg and combined with the cheese. Coat the chicken pieces in the flour, then in the egg and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Set aside.

Arrange a cooling rack over a baking sheet and put it in the middle of the oven.

Add the butter to a pot with tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the orzo to the warm butter and toast for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and stir for a minute more. Add the rice and coat in the butter. Stir in the stock and the saffron threads and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook the rice until tender, about 17-18 minutes. Add the parsley and fluff with a fork.

Heat a quarter-inch of olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Fry the chicken, two cutlets at a time, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the first two cutlets to the cooling rack in the oven to keep warm while you cook the second batch.

While the chicken cooks, combine the tomatoes, onions, basil, tarragon and 2 tablespoons EVOO in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer the chicken from the oven to serving dishes and top with the raw tomato sauce. Serve the Milanese rice alongside.

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