One of the things I like about not being a novices cook is the ability to punt whenever necessary. Once upon a time I had Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Lemon Pasta on my menu. It was a lovely little recipe I picked up at Bakeatmidnite.com – link below just in case you want to check it out.
As I gathered my ingredients, I realized I didn’t have everything needed for the Lemon Pasta. Oh my! When you don’t have key ingredients, (in this case enough fresh lemons) there is only one thing to do – peer into the fridge and pantry to see what’s there and then punt. If I could not create the Lemon Pasta, then I would have to improvise. Let me see – we have Parmesan, heavy cream, bottled lemon juice, crushed roasted garlic. That was a start. And wine – we always have wine. Sounds like the makings for a wonderful Parmesan Cream sauce. It was settle, at least in my head – Parmesan Cream Sauce it is. After all, my guys loved sauces and the sauce could be ladled over the chicken and the pasta – seemed the perfect solution.
Sometimes punting is the best solution to any kitchen problem. What begins as one dish can become another without missing a beat. The results? The chicken was moist and flavorful – you could have eaten it “naked” (without the pasta or the sauce). Together, the plate was awesome – rich, creamy and oh so satisfying. Served along side warm bread and a simple tossed salad, and with very little effort, we had a superb supper. My guys loved it.
Italian Chicken over Pasta with Parmesan Cream Sauce
Chicken and Pasta
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/2 cups Stuffing Bread cubes (Pepperidge Farm herb)
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons water
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons parsley flakes (dried parsley)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil. divided
8 oz Spaghetti, cooked per package directions
Lay chicken on a cutting board and slice in half lengthwise to create two thin cutlets from each breast. You should end up with eight thin breasts, no more than 1/2 inch thick. Set aside.
Place bread cubes into a large plastic bag. Spread out inside the bag to make rolling easier. With a rolling-pin, crush bread cubes to create a coarse breading. (Roll, grind, pound – great work out and a productive way to take out your frustrations at the end of the day!)
To the pulverized bread crumbs, add basil, oregano, parsley and cheese. Zip bag closed and give it a good shake to blend everything together. Empty bread crumbs into a large shallow pan such as a pie pan. Set aside.
In a second shallow pan, add flour. Set aside.
In a bowl, whip eggs with water.
Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Let water continue to boil until ready to cook pasta. Warm oven to hold chicken.
Divide chicken cutlets in half to work in two batches. Dredge each chicken piece in flour. Dip it into egg mixture, allowing excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Dredge chicken in bread crumbs. Place in skillet to cook
Cook chicken cutlets until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer first batch of chicken on a platter and keep warm in the oven while the second batch cooks.
While the first batch of chicken cooks, cook spaghetti per package directions. Drain and keep warm.
Repeat with second batch of chicken – dredge, dip, bread and cook. Transfer second batch of chicken in oven to keep warm.
Make Parmesan Cream Sauce
Parmesan Cream Sauce
1/4 cup White Wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons crushed garlic (jar okay)
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoon Fresh Basil, finely chopped
To the empty skillet, add wine and allow it to sizzle. Add cream and simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Add crushed garlic and lemon juice. Stir to blend. Heat through.
Add basil and Parmesan Cheese. Stir gently just until cheese melts and sauce thickens. (This should take about 10 minutes – the same amount of time it will take to cook the pasta).
To Serve: Plate spaghetti. Top with two chicken breasts. Ladle with sauce and serve.