If you spend any amount of time at all on the recipe boards of pinterest (many a long Sunday afternoon has been lost here, I’m not afraid to admit that), you’ll almost certainly have come across some sort of recipe for chicken parmesan.
You wouldn’t be wrong in getting interested – breaded, then baked, chicken smothered in tomato sauce and cheese? Nothing but beauty and truth lies in this proposition and yet, if you have also spent any amount of time in the North (east) of England, or have spent any significant amount of time with somebody who has, surely you are aware of the spectre, the beast, the legend of the Chicken Parmo?
I won’t go into too much detail on its origins or even the make up of a traditional one (definitely don’t, for example, read this, or this, or this and definitely whatever you do, (especially if there are those with a sensitive disposition around), watch this) lest it put you off this beauty. For those of you displaced Northerners who haven’t quite made it to the required level of legless, this one’s for you. You no longer need to fear shame at eating it before 12am on a weeknight.
If you’re feeling naughty, ditch the spaghetti and fire some oven chips on your plate. It’s January, you’ve got to.
Please also note I’ve suggested 150g of mozzarella (half fat) for two people – this is the weight of one standard mozzarella ball at our local supermarket. Because we never use it for anything else and it doesn’t last long outside of its bag juices, we almost always end up using the whole thing which is deeply unnecessary but profoundly delicious. You could easily use half and it would be enough. I’ll leave it up to you. Cheese responsibly.
Bonus information: Those on a low FODMAP diet should also use gluten free bread and spaghetti, as well as using an onion free and garlic free passata (a plain tomato works just fine) to which you add a teaspoon of garlic infused oil and italian herbs (e.g. dried basil/oregano plus seasoning). Parmesan and mozarella should be fine as both are low in lactose.
Serves 2 (hungry bellies)
2 chicken breasts
1 slice of white bread (or whatever you normally have around the house), crusts removed
20g of parmesan, finely grated
2 (generous) tbsp of butter/margarine/whatever spread you normally use
400g of garlic and herb passata
(up to) 150g of half fat mozzarella, sliced
salt and pepper to season
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees for a fan assisted oven or 220 for a regular oven. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and give this a spray of calorie spray
- Blitz the slice of bread with a hand blender or food processor until fine crumbed. In a pinch, you can let loose with your best knife and some mad skills. Combine with the grated parmesan and some seasoning and transfer into a wide, shallow bowl or plate.
- Melt the butter/spread in a cup. Slice the breasts length ways so you have 4 thinner breast portions. Brush the margarine all over the breasts then coat on both sides with the seasoned breadcrumbs, taking care to press firmly on both sides to ensure full coverage.
- Place breaded chicken on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. When there are a couple of minutes left, put the pasta on and cook according to packet instructions but only to al dente.
- After the 20 minutes is over, flip the chicken and bake for a further five minutes. Add 1-2 tbsp of passata on top of each fillet and top this with a slice (or more) of mozarella.
- Put this back in the oven for a final five minutes. If it’s not brown enough when it comes out, turn the oven to grill (broiler for Americans) for a couple of extra minutes while you pull together the rest of the dishes.
- Add approximately 200g-300g of passata to the spaghetti – enough to make it as saucy as you prefer – and heat through.
- Serve in your favourite bowl with spaghetti on the bottom, followed by your (truly indulgent looking) chicken. Top with freshly cracked black pepper.
Happy Fiesta Friday!!