This is one of those iconic dishes of Italian American cuisine up there with spaghetti and meatballs. This is one of the ultimate comfort foods for me. On a cold winter’s night opening the oven to its warm bubbling cheese and tomato sauce is enough to make it almost worth it that it’s cold out. Of course, as the winter draws to a close and I realize I haven’t gotten around to making it yet I hop to it because there’s no way I’m going to make this in the summertime.
It’s really quite simple to make, except I admit the breading and frying of the chicken is a bit time consuming if you’re making a big batch. But if you are making only enough for two then it doesn’t take more than a few minutes. The trickiest part is making sure that you don’t use your hand (or fork) in both the egg and the breadcrumbs; it will result in a sticky mess.
If you are afraid of frying, you don’t have to be in this recipe. It’s just a small amount of oil in the frying pan in order to keep everything lubricated so nothing sticks to the pan. Use about 1/4 of an inch in the pan and make sure it is sizzling hot before you put the meat in and it will fry instead of absorbing the oil.
All that’s left to do after this is to build the meal in a baking dish and let the oven do the rest of the work. Line up the chicken, top it with tomato sauce, sprinkle on the cheese, and pop it in the oven. Then you have time for a glass of wine, to boil up some pasta, make a salad, sit and read a magazine, or get the kids bathed while it cooks.
4 chicken breast fillets (approximately 1- 1.25 pounds)
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 cups basic tomato sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese (made from 2% milk)
Olive oil for frying
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Crack the eggs into a a large flat bowl and scrambled them up with a fork. In another large flat bowl put the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in the frying pan.
Dredge each chicken slice in the egg, and then in the breadcrumb, and when the oil is really hot place the slices into the frying pan to cook. Once you can see that it’s cooked halfway up the side of the meat, about 4-6 minutes, flip the meat and cook on the other side about 3-5 minutes.
Place the cooked meat into a baking dish and top with the sauce and cheese. Place into the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted, bubbling, golden brown, and delicious.