chicken parmesan over linguine with tomato-basil red sauce

The buttermilk brine on the chicken, combined with homemade red sauce full of fresh garlic and basil, give this dish extra flavor and brightness. You can pair the chicken with pasta or risotto, or serve alongside a green salad for a lighter dish. This recipe will serve two people with leftover sauce, which will keep well in the refrigerator for a week. Please note that the sauce should be prepared several hours in advance of finishing the dish to ensure maximum flavor.

 

Chicken:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 whole, of even size and thickness)

  • Buttermilk (1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon for breadcrumb mix)

  • Dried oregano (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Dried thyme (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Dried basil (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Flour (4 tablespoons)

  • Eggs (2 whole eggs, beaten)

  • Breadcrumbs (2 cups; could use storebought or make your own with fresh bread loaf)

  • Canola oil (or another clean frying oil) (2 cups)

  • Mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup, cut into cubes)

  • Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup, shredded)

  • Dried linguine pasta (2 servings)

 

  1. For maximum flavor and moistness, brine the chicken for at least 2 hours prior to cooking.

  2. To prepare chicken for brine, hold a chef's knife parallel to the cutting board and along one long side of the breast. Cut breast almost in half, leaving breast attached at one side. Do this for both breasts.

  3. Place the chicken breasts under plastic wrap or in a Ziploc bag, and use a mallet or a broad, flat surface like a cookie sheet to flatten the breasts. 

  4. Place chicken in a shallow dish and top with the buttermilk and dried herbs. Use tongs to turn chicken to ensure even coating. Set in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

  5. When ready to prepare the dish, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  6. You need to create three stations for dredging the chicken. Put flour in a shallow dish or on a plate. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and put in a second shallow dish. Finally, place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish mixed with 1 tablespoon of buttermilk (this will help create small lumps that will get extra crispy while frying).

  7. First dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, followed by the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Each breast should be evenly coated in the breadcrumbs to ensure uniform crispiness on the surface.

  8. In a large, deep skillet, heat the frying oil. Once very hot, submerge the chicken breasts and fry until golden brown. You can use tongs to periodically flip the chicken to ensure even frying and browning. Do one at a time if chicken does not fit together in skillet; you do not want crowding. 

  9. Once chicken is evenly browned, remove to a wire rack or paper towel to drain off excess oil and cool slightly.

  10. On a cutting board, cut each butterflied chicken breast in half, down the middle "spine." Make note of whether chicken is cooked all the way through (look for raw pink flesh; it's ok if there is some - it will finish cooking in the oven).

  11. Boil a pot of water for the pasta. When water is at a roiling boil, add the dried linguine and cook for time indicated on package directions.

  12. In a shallow oven-safe dish, pour a thick layer of red sauce into the base. Place chicken breasts on top of sauce, and top with cubes of mozzarella and shredded Parmesan.

  13. Bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling around the side. While chicken is baking, drain the pasta. 

  14. To serve, plate the linguine, then top with chicken and garnish with remaining fresn basil. Serve extra red sauce on the side. 

 

Red Sauce with Fresh Basil 

  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)

  • Fresh minced garlic (1 teaspoon)

  • White onion (1 small, minced)

  • Tomato paste (1 small can, 6 ounces)

  • Canned crushed tomatoes (1 large can, 12 ounces)

  • Fresh basil (1 cup, chiffonade into thin strips; reserve small amount for garnish)​

 

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil.

  2. Add minced garlic and chopped onion. Saute until onions are translucent. 

  3. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and basil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, and then taste and add salt and/or pepper as desired.

  4. Use an immersion blender to make the sauce extra smooth; this helps to ensure the basil is reduced to tiny pieces.

  5. The sauce can sit in a saucepan off the heat while you prepare the rest of the meal.