- August 31, 2021
- 5 / 5
It’s hard not to love a crunchy fried chicken with tomato sauce & mozzarella (aka Chicken Parmigiana) but when it’s baked, as in this Chicken Pizzaiola recipe, it’s a gazillion times better! It’s healthier and absolutely delish!
I love that it’s not a fussy dish. Go ahead and use your favorite marinara sauce (whether homemade or store-bought). We doctor it up just a bit, but it’s still a simple, casual dish.
What’s makes the chicken so moist is the buttermilk soak. I like to bathe the chick breasts in buttermilk for at least 2 hours. It really makes a difference!
And what makes the chicken so crispy is the combination of panko breadcrumbs, grated Grana Padano and spices. If it’s hard to find Grana Padano, I have found that Pecorino Romano works just as nicely. And for the healthy part, this gets baked, not fried. It only takes about 20 minutes to get nice and crispy.
Then we doctor up the tomato sauce by adding a little olive oil and some basil leaves and purée it in a blender. Warm that up a bit in a small saucepan.
Just as the chicken is finishing in the oven,add a few slices of mozzarella cheese to the top and bake it until the cheese melts.
Finally, to plate the dish, spread the tomato emulsion on the plate, top with the chicken and garnish with some parsley leaves, some roasted cherry tomatoes and/or some flaky sea salt. Enjoy!
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Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), trimmed of fat and gristle
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 & 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano
- 1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Sicilian, on the branch
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus 1/4 cup leaves and whole sprigs for garnish
- 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups prepared fresh Tomato Sauce
- 4 slices low-moisture mozzarella
- 4 roasted cherry tomatoes or parsley, for garnish
Season the chicken breasts with salt, and place in a releasable plastic bag. Pour in the buttermilk, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Drain the chicken, and preheat oven to 400˚F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the panko, grated Grana Padano, dried oregano, chopped parsley, chopped basil, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ tablespoon salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Put the drained chicken breasts in the bowl with the seasoned breadcrumbs one at a time, and pat well on both sides so the crumbs cover the chicken on all sides. Set the breaded chicken breasts on the parchment paper, arranged so they don’t touch each other.
Bake the chicken until the coating is crisp and browned and the chicken is just cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. While the chicken bakes, combine the tomato sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ¼ cup basil leaves in a blender, and puree until smooth. Season with salt. Pour the purée into a small saucepan, and warm it over low heat.
When the chicken is just cooked through, top with the sliced mozzarella and bake until the cheese is just melted, about 2 minutes. Spread the tomato emulsion on plates, top with the chicken and a roasted cherry tomato or parsley leaves, if using, and serve.
Recipe from Lidia Bastianich