Zesty Chicken Cutlets Parmigiana

Zesty Chicken Cutlets Parmigiana

1 lb. spaghetti


1 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
2 cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, roughly cut or torn
2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped from stem
2 T. chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley


Juice of three lemons (or 3 T. bottled lemon juice)
1/3 C. freshly grated Romano or parmesan cheese (get the Parmigiano-Reggiano if you can)
1 C. Italian-flavored bread crumbs
1 t. freshly ground pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 T. chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each breast half cut in half again, then pounded flat
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. fresh mozzarella or fresh smoked mozzarella, sliced

Start a big pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Start working on the sauce, but when the water is ready, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente (slightly firm to the bite) according to the package directions. Drain and reserve pasta.

For the sauce, place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a bubble, reduce heat, and let the sauce simmer while you prepare the cutlets.

Squeeze the lemon juice into a shallow dish. On a separate large plate, mix the cheese, bread crumbs, black and red peppers, and parsley. With your left hand, pick up each chicken breast in turn and dip both sides into the lemon juice, then drop it onto the plate with the bread-crumb mixture. Pick up the breast with your right hand and turn to coat the other side (this keeps your left hand from dragging crumbs into the lemon juice) and place the breaded chicken onto a clean plate.

In a large skillet, heat the two cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium heat. When the garlic sizzles, remove the cloves and add the chicken pieces, cooking 4 minutes on a side. Do not move the chicken once you have set it in the pan, as this will tear off the breading.

While the chicken cooks on the second side, cover the bottom of an ovenproof serving dish with the sauce (the dish should be large enough to hold all the breast pieces in one layer). When the chicken is done cooking, place it on top of the sauce in the baking dish. Dot each chicken cutlet with a little more sauce and a slice of fresh mozzarella. Place platter under broiler to just melt cheese.

Toss the drained spaghetti with the rest of the sauce in a serving bowl. Pass the bowl of spaghetti and the serving dish of the cutlets with a green salad and some crusty bread for a great and filling meal.

Serves 4.

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