Chicken parmesan is one of those “easy/go-to” recipes for me. Saute up some chicken, add sauce, top with cheese and serve with spaghetti noodles. That’s the quickest way to explain this dish, but I love to add a little bit of flair when I’m cooking (almost always with wine), so my version is a little snazzier.
I start with two chicken breasts and roll them in a little egg white substitute before patting them down in some seasoned bread crumbs. NOTE: This is where you have some creative and quantity options – if you’re serving more than two people, use more chicken. If you want to use Panko or cracker crumbs or even parmesan cheese at this point, feel free. This is your meal, so enjoy using your favorite products.
Once the chicken is prepared, you need to prepare your pan. Using a nice size saute pan, melt a mixture of a little butter and a bit of olive oil until it’s starting to sizzle a bit. Place your chicken, breast side down, into the hot oil and allow the meat to cook until it lifts up easily (this will tell you when it’s done). Flip the chicken and allow it to cook the same way on the other side. Your chicken is now seared but not thoroughly cooked.
Since the “pretty” side is facing up, I like to leave the breasts alone at this point. I add some red wine to give the chicken breasts some liquid to soak up and allow to cook thoroughly. Note: Use as much or as little red wine as you’d like at this point. You can also substitute chicken stock if you’d prefer, but I do love the depth added by the wine. I usually use a favorite dry red wine, but I don’t mind using a lovely tasting Malbec or a Meritage if that’s what I’ve got in my cabinet. The idea to remember is to use a wine you’d like to drink because if you cook with wine, you’re concentrating the flavors and if you wouldn’t want to drink it, you definitely don’t want to cook with it.
After adding the wine, I also add some tomato sauce. I love having the time to make my own sauce, but for the ease of apartment living at the moment, I use some jarred sauce, mix in the wine and the pan drippings, and pop the entire pan into the oven to allow it to bake (usually around 325 degrees or so) until we’re ready for dinner… just remember to leave enough time to cook your pasta so that’s ready when you want to plate your meal. An extra note: I have found if you pop a few ice cubes into the pasta when it’s finished cooking, your pasta won’t stick. I’m not exactly sure why this happens, but it works well for us… better than adding oil or butter to keep the pasta from sticking to itself.
A few minutes before you’re ready to pull dinner out of the oven is when I like to top the chicken breasts with cheese. How much or how little is really up to you. For the meal pictured, I placed a slice of provolone cheese each breast and then sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese to melt in the oven before serving the chicken and sauce over the pasta.
Enjoy personalizing this meal and making it your own… before long, you’ll have come up with your own favorite variation!