Lemon, cheese and fresh herbs all work together in the crust of this classic chicken parm recipe.
For the pomodoro sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cans Italian tomatoes (28-32 ounces each)
- A few leaves of basil, torn
For the chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8 ounces each), rib meat removed
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus some for garnish
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion (1/3 palmful)
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- Flour, for dredging
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Olive or canola oil for shallow frying
- A few leaves of basil
- 1 pound thin linguine
For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the butter and melt, then add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and cook, partially covered, until very soft. Add the stock, then the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the basil; reduce the heat and simmer the sauce gently for 20-30 minutes, partially covered, stirring occasionally. Adjust the salt, to taste. Tip: For a thinner sauce or to stretch the yield, add 2 cups tomato passata or puree.
Cut into the fat, rounded side of each chicken breast to butterfly them open. Place the chicken in baggies or between plastic and gently pound them into very thin, large cutlets. Season with salt and pepper on each side.
Combine both breadcrumbs with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, herbs, granulated onion and garlic, and lemon zest. Line up three dishes to dredge the cutlets; one with flour, one with the egg and one with the herbed breadcrumbs.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°F and place a metal rack on a baking sheet to keep the cutlets warm while preparing them in batches.
Heat a shallow layer of oil (1/8-1/4-inch) in a very large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
Heat the tomato sauce and bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente.
While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta cooks, coat the chicken cutlets in flour and shake off the excess; drop them in the egg and drain the excess and then coat them evenly in the breadcrumb mixture. Shallow fry the cutlets one or two at a time for 3 minutes on each side. Keep the finished cutlets warm in oven as you finish the rest.
To serve, place a large cutlet on a plate and top with a ladle of sauce, some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and garnish with a basil leaf.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot (add a pat of butter if you like). Toss with half the red sauce. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls topped with more sauce and some grated cheese. The pasta may be served as a first course or as a side dish to the chicken.