Wednesday, July 14, 2010

chicken parmigiana

my chicken parm with broccoli, pesto and sourdough bread

So one of my best friends, Paul, moved into the city last month, and I promised to bring over dinner as a housewarming present. Paul's favorite food is chicken parm, so the menu was a total no brainer. I figured I'd also bring a salad, because I'm always struggling not to waste my food co-op lettuce. Then, while making borchst, I accidentally defrosted a container of pesto I assumed was chicken stock, so we had that too. It was pretty discolored after its time in the freezer. Not pretty. I also made an oreo cheesecake and broccoli strascinati, but I am aiming to make an entry every day for the month of July, so I am going to stretch this meal across three posts.

First, I made Marcella Hazan's famous tomato sauce, which I previously blogged about here. The recipe calls for only canned tomatoes, butter, and an onion. But I of course could not help embellishing, tossing in a garlic clove and finishing it off with plenty of fresh basil and parsley from my food co-op stores. I cooked this in too small a pot, because I didn't want to use the giant one, which meant tomato splattering everywhere and the onion and garlic didn't get as delicious soft and saturated with tomatoey goodness as the last time, so I had to remove them from the sauce rather than smashing them into it. Luckily, it still tasted good, and I saved the onion and garlic to use again on a later date.

Since there were going to be three ravenous young men at dinner, I bought six chicken breasts and boned them myself. This means that I've now got six bones in the fridge waiting for me to cook up some stock, but that is a story for later. I sliced my cutlets thinly and then dipped them in egg and seasoned breadcrumbs and pan fried them in hot vegetable oil. I did all this the night before so that I could serve a reasonably early dinner to Paul, his girlfriend Lauren and his roommates, Rob and Andrew. I also cut up the broccoli, and made the cheesecake. Lots and lots of prep work.

The next day I came home after work and packed up everything and hopped on the subway down to Paul's house. He picked up some bread to go with dinner, his roommate Andrew had some red wine, and Lauren bought some shredded mozzarella. I had already put the cutlets and sauce in a baking dish, so when I arrived I simply topped them with the cheese and popped them in the oven and got to work on the broccoli and salad.

After twenty minutes, I switched on the broiler and let the cheese get a little brown and bubbly. The chicken was a delicious saucy, cheesy mess.

chicken parmigiana with plenty of cheese and sauce

Andrew recently bought a gigantically awesome patio table for their roof, so we took the food upstairs and ate under the stars. It was awesome. I am so envious of their sweet roof set up, although I suppose I could technically set up something of the sort on mine, which is unlocked. Maybe someday.


  1. "I did all this the night before so that I could serve a reasonably early dinner"

    please always do this :(

  2. You're already a fan of A Bushel of What? so no need to harp on it, but one of the recipes on there is for a fantastic tomato sauce. What's nice about making your own tomato sauce, beyond the ability to tweak the recipe based on your own available ingredients and tastes, is that it's also a good first foray into canning. When we make sauce it's often an afternoon activity, but we then have about a dozen or so pint jars that we store for later use (and it comes in VERY handy).

  3. I am intrigued by but also totally intimidated by canning!!! That sauce sounds super tasty though, and like a great way to use up some of that never ending csa squash!

  4. Don't be scared! Balls jars, a big stock pot, and an insert so the jars don't rest on the bottom of the pot... and the grabbers to get the jars out of the water. While we didn't can much while living in NYC, Rainbow YCS on the UES has a fairly good set of supplies. Supermarkets also have the supplies, but I remember them being cheaper at Rainbow.