Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana

We had a water leak. It was a mystery of sorts that took not one but three different agencies to investigate. We brought in a plumber, a leak expert and then finally, the builder that did our remodel four years ago.

I still remember when the builder brought me into our new kitchen for the very first time. Cabinet doors and drawers were not yet installed. The kitchen island had a gaping hole in the top for where the butcher block counter would eventually go. We had a range hood without yet a stove beneath it. Even though the kitchen wasn’t quite finished, I could smell the aroma of cookies and pies wafting throughout the house. I could imagine cheerily announcing dinner is ready, and then standing aside as my children and husband stampeded toward their seats. Boy did I let my imagination run wild. Life hasn’t actually played out in exactly the same way as it did in my mind four years ago.

In these four years I haven’t exactly developed a routine for cleaning the oven. Fresh baked cookies smell more akin to burnt cheese pizza. Macaroni and Cheese also smells a lot like burnt cheese pizza. My children usually want to know what’s for dinner before they committ to sit down to eat it.

The water leak has been such a pain mostly because we hadn’t a clue of what was causing the leak or where it was coming from. When the builder arrived with such confidence and eagerness to resolve the problem, I felt at ease. I knew he possessed the wherewithal to get the job done.

While Builder was hard at work downstairs ripping apart portions of the ceiling, I was upstairs preparing to butterfly and then pound flat two hefty sized chicken breasts. Just before opening the plastic wrapped chicken I remembered that Builder shut off the water. I couldn’t handle raw chicken without water for washing my hands. I then remembered that I had an onion and garlic to chop too but couldn’t do it. Dinner would have to wait.

It wasn't until the late afternoon, or early evening, depending upon how you see it, the leak was fixed. My builder, my hero. The kitchen was again fully functional. It was time to make dinner -- Chicken Parmigiana.

Chicken Parmigiana
Recipe adapted from: Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman Cooks

2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Trimmed And Pounded Flat
1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1/2 cups Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
1 cloves Garlic, Minced
¾ cups Red Wine
2 cans (14.5 Oz.) Tomatoes Sauce
1 can Tomato Paste
dash of Sugar
dash of Oregano
1/4 Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pound spaghetti pasta

Preparation Instructions

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.

Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.

At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook spaghetti until al dente.

Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.

Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Pour in tomato sauce and paste and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking time, add chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.

Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.

Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.

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