Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spicing Up An Italian Classic!

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Chicken Parmesan is one of those great classic dishes that combines tender chicken, crispy breadcrumbs, savory sauce and strong, salty cheese - where could you go wrong? I came across this recipe recently and it made me pause...adding pepperoni to chicken parm? What on earth? Yet, we love pepperoni...love chicken parm...and I've never actually attempted the true classic so why not give it a whirl?

It turned out to be incredibly delicious. The pepperoni wasn't overpowering and it really lent a great little spicy kick to the dish.

Now, the recipe below (I think it came from Fine Cooking magazine) doesn't include a recipe for tomato sauce. You could, of course, use a jarred sauce, but over the years I've really come to learn that whipping up a quick marinara sauce from scratch barely takes more time than heating up a jarred sauce.

Each time I throw one together, I start it the same way: heat a little olive oil in a pot, add in some onion and garlic, a few spoonfuls of tomato paste, a splash of balsamic vinegar and cook it down until it thickens and everything is combined. Then I add in crushed or diced tomatoes and season it with Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Takes maybe 15 minutes and you're done!

Chicken Pepperoni Parmesan

Ingredients

- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (pounded 3/4 inch thick)
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil (for cooking)
- 2 cups tomato sauce (see above for basic recipe)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 oz. sliced pepperoni

Instructions

1.
Preheat the oven to 450. Set up 3 pie plates: 1) flour 2) Panko 3) whisked milk and eggs. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Dust in the flour first, then the egg/milk mixture and lastly in the Panko. Press the Panko gently to the chicken to make sure it sticks.




























2. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and fry over moderately high heat (I cooked them 2 at a time), turning once, until cooked through - about 7-8 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.



















3. Top the chicken with the tomato sauce, Parmesan, mozzarella and pepperoni. Bake the chicken for about 15 minutes until the cheese melts and browns on top. Serve it up with a side of pasta and a salad!



















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