Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti

Chicken parmesan and spaghettiI think I’ve spoiled my family.  They no longer like to eat at places like Macaroni Grill or Carino’s.  My husband says my Italian dinners always taste fresher and better seasoned than those restaurant meals do.  A nice loaf of Italian bread and a Caesar Salad rounded out this Italian-American meal.

Once again, I’ve turned to Cook’s Illustrated for my recipe.  I make a small change to this recipe by adding some red pepper flakes.  Recipe after the jump.

Chicken Parmesan

Serves 4

Simple Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Herbs

2        medium cloves garlic , minced or put through garlic press

1/4        cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1        teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/4 to 1/2  teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4        teaspoon granulated sugar

Table salt and ground black pepper

Chicken Parmesan

1/2 cup    unbleached all-purpose flour

1        large egg

1        Tablespoon water

Table salt and ground black pepper

1/2–1        cup dry bread crumbs

2        large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), or 4 trimmed chicken breasts (4 to 5 ounces each) (pounded into thin cutlets)

1/4        cup olive oil

3/4        cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)

1/4        cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce), plus extra for passing

8        ounces spaghetti or linguine

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat garlic and oil together over medium-high heat until garlic starts to sizzle. Stir in tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes,  sugar, a pinch of salt, and a couple of grinds of pepper; bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens a bit and flavors meld, 10 to 12 minutes. Taste sauce, adjusting salt if necessary. Cover and keep warm.

2. Bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to boil in a large soup kettle. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together. Beat egg in a small pie plate or other shallow dish until completely broken up. Mix bread crumbs, a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a grind or two of pepper in another small pie plate or shallow baking dish.

3. Preheat broiler. Working with one at a time, lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip both sides of each cutlet in the beaten egg, then in the bread crumb mixture. Set cutlets on large wire rack set over a jelly roll pan.

4. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the spaghetti to the boiling water. Boil while cutlets sauté (next step).

5. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. When oil starts to shimmer, add cutlets and sauté until golden brown on each side, about 5 to 6 minutes total. Wash and dry wire rack and return to jelly roll pan. Transfer cutlets to wire rack and top each with equal portions of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Place pan of cutlets 4 to 5 inches from heat source and broil until cheese melts and is spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Drain spaghetti.

6. Transfer a chicken cutlet and a portion of spaghetti to each of 4 plates. Spoon two or three tablespoons of sauce over part of each cutlet, then sauce the spaghetti as desired. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan passed separately.

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