2 pounds chicken breast or tenderloins 

2 teaspoons salt, divided

3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

1-1/2 cups Panko, Italian panko or Italian bread crumb (homemade works great also)

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, divided

1 teaspoon dried oregano (only if you have plain breadcrumbs)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (only if you have plain breadcrumbs)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil (only if you have plain breadcrumbs)

1/2 cup flour

3 large eggs

Olive oil, for cooking

1-1/2 cups homemade or store-bought marinara sauce, best quality such as Rao’s or Victoria

6 oz 6 cheese blend or Mozzarella  

3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

Spaghetti or your favorite type of past

INSTRUCTIONS Butterfly your chicken breast and lighting pound. If using tenderloins using kitchen shears, trim off any white tendons at the ends of the tenderloins. Using the palm of your hand, gently flatten the tenderloins so that they are an even 1/4-inch thickness. Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a large shallow bowl, combine the panko, the oregano, the thyme, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Place the flour in another shallow bowl. Beat the eggs in a third bowl. Set up a breading station in this order: flour, eggs, panko. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean up. Dredge the chicken in the flour, coating evenly; dip in the eggs, letting any excess drip off; then dredge in the panko mixture, turning and patting to adhere. Place the breaded chicken on the prepared baking sheet. (The recipe can be prepared up to this point, covered, and refrigerated up to 8 hours ahead of time.) Preheat the broiler and set an oven rack about 4 inches from the heating element. Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer over low heat. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking (with store-bought sauce, I find a generous pinch of sugar and fresh basil go a long way.) Cover and keep warm. Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment for easy clean up; set aside. In a large nonstick skillet, heat about 1/8 inch of oil over medium heat until shimmering. Place a few tenders or breast filets in the pan in a single layer and cook until the first side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Place the cooked chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Cook the remaining chicken in the same manner, adding additional oil only if necessary. You may need to lower the the heat as you go, so that the chicken doesn’t brown before it is cooked through. Sprinkle the cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano over the center of the chicken tenderloins, leaving the sides bare so that they remain crispy. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter or individual plates. Spoon the marinara sauce over the cheese, again leaving the sides bare so that they stay crispy. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.

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