I was driving home stuck in the worst traffic the last time I decided to cook Chicken Milanese. It was a typical 12 hour day and the Christmas shopping was adding to the mayhem on the roads, I needed comfort and Italian food offers just that with aplomb.
This Chicken Milanese dish was something I last tasted in Little Italy while in New York and it brought back memories in floods, it doesn’t disappoint. The star of the show really is the crispy Parmesan crusted chicken, however, you can serve the spaghetti and sauce alone as a standout vegetarian pasta dish.
2 chicken breasts
2 large free range eggs
75g Plain flour
100g Panko breadcrumbs
50g grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for frying
For the spaghetti:
150g dried spaghetti
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
Half an onion, finely diced
Small bunch of basil
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Extra virgin olive oil, lemon wedges and Parmesan shavings to serve
To make the spaghetti sauce heat a tbsp of olive oil in a shallow saute pan and add the onion, fry for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Separate the basil leaves from the stalks and finely chop the stalks. Add the chopped basil stalks and the garlic to the pan along with the chilli flakes. Fry gently for a further 2-3 minutes and pour in the chopped tomatoes, fill the empty tin halfway up with cold water and then pour into the sauce. Put a lid on and simmer on a very low heat for 30 minutes until slightly thickened while you prepare the chicken, stir the sauce occasionally during cooking.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, the flour into a second bowl and the breadcrumbs into a third bowl. Season the eggs generously with salt and pepper and beat. Mix the Parmesan into the breadcrumbs until well combined. Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of cling film and bash gently with a rolling pin to get an even thickness of around 5mm. Coat the chicken in the flour, then the egg and finally the cheesy breadcrumbs.
Bring a pan of salted boiling water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile heat a large frying pan and add a thin layer of olive oil, bring to a medium-high temperature and then cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden, crispy and cooked through (ensure the oil is hot before adding the chicken otherwise the breadcrumbs will suck up the cold oil).
To bring the dish together, take the larger basil leaves slice them finely and stir them into the sauce along with a sprinkle of salt and generous twist of black pepper. Add the pasta to the sauce and combine. Finely slice the chicken on the diagonal and serve the pasta with the chicken on the side and garnish with the smaller basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.