My husband was in medical school when we met, and I was in my fifth year of undergraduate studies. He was a hardworking medical student, and I was a driven student-athlete. We were both multi-talented individuals, and we had a lot in common; we loved country music and cowboy boots, we wanted to live in a small town after graduation, we both shared a strong love for animals… and neither of us could cook worth a damn. At the time, the food thing didn’t seem that important, so we spent the next five years eating freezer pizza and going out to dinner. But then, one day, someone bought me a Pioneer Woman cookbook and everything changed. Now we never want to go out for dinner… because we have finally figured out how to cook… And this is one of our favorite meals; Chicken Parmesan.
What you’ll need, aka. INGREDIENTS:
2 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 Onion, chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
3/4 cup Red Wine
Three 15-ounce cans Crushed Tomatoes
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pound thin Linguine, or other thin pasta
What to do, aka. INSTRUCTIONS:
Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally, this will give you 4 thinner chicken breast pieces.
Now, pound the chicken to uniform thinness. Put the chicken in a ziplock bag. Close the ziplock seal, leaving about an inch for air to escape. If you have a super huge ziplock bag you can do all 4 breasts at the same time, but I’m pounding two at a time.
Season the flattened chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
Now, dredge the chicken breasts in flour, and set them aside. I probably let this step get a tad bit messier than needed… But oh well.
In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt the butter in the olive oil until sizzling. You’ll be using this skillet for the entire process, so make sure it’s large enough, it also needs to have a lid (you’ll be using the lid later). Note: I chop my onion and mince my garlic while I wait for the olive oil/butter to sizzle.
Fry the chicken breasts until nice and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd your pan. I always say, “there are three things people should never overcrowd; prisons, public powder rooms, and skillets.” Well, I might have censored that quote a bit, but you get the general idea (If not think about Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, mixed with Orange is the New Black Season 4). So, I cook two chicken breasts at a time. When the chicken is done remove it from the skillet and keep warm.
Without cleaning the skillet, add the onion and garlic. Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion starts to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.
And, Drumroll, Please… Pour in the wine! With a wooden or soft plastic utensil, (so you don’t scratch the skillet) scrape the bottom of the pan, releasing all the flavorful bits of chicken, onion, and garlic. Now, all of your patience and good judgement must come into play, because you need to let the wine cook down until it has reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
As we wait for the wine to cook down, I’ll tell you about the wine I used. For this recipe I used Duck Commander Triple Threat Red Blend. I normally cook with Santa Margherita Pino Grigio, but I prefer red wine in this particular dish. You could use white wine, if that’s what you’re into.
Pour in the crushed tomatoes, and stir to combine.
Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the sugar. The sugar will counteract the acidity of the tomatoes, and add a really nice flavor balance.
Give the sauce a good stir, reduce the heat to to low, and simmer for 30 minutes so the flavor can meld.
Now, this part is really simple. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Then, strain the pasta, and set aside for use later.
Chop the parsley and grate the parmesan cheese.
The 30 minute simmer time should be up by now. So, throw the parsley into the sauce, and give it a stir…
… and add 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, then stir to combine.
Now, carefully… I repeat, carefully, lay the chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them with Parmesan cheese. (Note: My husband ate the fourth piece of chicken, which is why you only see three now.)
Cover the skillet and simmer until the cheese is melted and the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Place the cooked pasta in pasta bowls or plates, then cover the pasta with sauce. Carefully lay a chicken breast on top of each serving, and sprinkle with a little more parsley and Parmesan.
(The Cookbook I Used: The Pioneer Woman: FOOD FROM MY FRONTIER)
Enjoy! And Cook Long and Prosper, the Uncustomary Housewife