Chicken (Or Eggplant) Parmesan


Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 8 (3-ounces each) chicken cutlets (eggplant variation below)

  • 2 cups homemade marinara sauce (below)

  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

  • 16 teaspoons grated Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Marinara Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped fine

  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, fresh, finely

  • chopped

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

  • Salt and pepperSplash of light cream

  • 1 bay leaf

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Make the marinara sauce:

In a large heavy nonreactive saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant but NOT browned. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and crush further with a potato masher. Simmer 30 minutes, slightly covered, on medium-low heat, stirring every so often.

Add the parsley, basil leaves and salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for another 10 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced. Taste and re-season as necessary.


Stir the oil and herbs in a small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the cutlets with the herb oil. Heat a heavy large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add the cutlets and cook just until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat.


Spoon the marinara sauce over and around the cutlets. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mozzarella over each cutlet, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Parmesan over each. Sprinkle the butter pieces atop the cutlets. Bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.


Alternative:

Instead of chicken, take 2-3 eggplants. Cut vertically and sprinkle with salt for approximately 15 minutes until they sweat through. Wipe down with water and dip in egg and bread crumb mixture. Fry and serve with sauce.


Any excess marinara sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months :)


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