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Chicken Parmesan with Marinara Sauce

Do not let the long list of ingredients fool you, the sauce can easily be made ahead of time and the chicken is simply breaded and pan-fried.
Course pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword breaded, chicken, chicken breast, marinara, mozzarella, pan-fried, parmesan, spaghetti, tomato, tomato sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4

Ingredients

For the marinara sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

For the chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Vegetable oil, for frying, as needed

For serving:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

For the marinara sauce:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter and melt, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, basil and cans of tomatoes with their liquid, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon so that the sauce isn’t chunky.
  • Let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens.
  • To make the sauce less chunky, I take about 3 cups of the sauce, let it cool, pulse it in a blender for 30 seconds then stir it back in with the rest of the sauce. It gives it a good consistency. Stir in the sugar then season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the chicken:

  • While the sauce cooks, cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise and place each piece of chicken into a large plastic zip-top bag. Use a mallet to gently pound them so they are about ½” thick. Be careful that the meat does not break.
  • To bread the chicken, set up three separate bowls. Place the flour in the first bowl. In the second bowl beat the eggs. In the third bowl combine the fine breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, garlic power, onion powder, and parsley.
  • Add enough vegetable oil to a large frying pan so that it is  ¼-inch deep. Heat until the surface of the oil is shiny.
  • Take a piece of chicken and dredge through the flour then the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs.
  • Fry until the chicken is completely cooked through and golden brown on each side, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil.  Continue the process until all of the chicken is fried.

For serving:

  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Pour in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Ladle in the enough of the marinara to lightly coat the pasta.
  • Heat broiler to high. Arrange chicken on a baking sheet and top with slices of mozzarella. Broil until the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.
  • Place one piece of chicken on each plate. On the side of the chicken, serve pasta topped with extra sauce and Parmesan cheese.