In Durango, CO winter can become a long and tedious season, but the end of January only means that Snow Down is right around the corner! What is Snow Down? The best way I can explain this is that Snow Down is the Cabin Fever Reliever! Some enterprising people found that mid winter is a great time for a week long party that includes stupid human tricks and contests!
It is a great time and I look forward to this party every year because it brings happiness and joy to an otherwise cold and dreary time of year. I also like this because it gives me a chance to try out new ideas from the kitchen on friends and family, who I thank a lot for their opinions. So this year is no different other than I decided to try out ‘chicken parmesan’ with marinara sauce.
I had worked in restaurants in the past and from each one of them I learned a lot about cooking and making sauces. Sadly though, I sux at baking! Anyway, taking what I learned and adding my individual touch I found I could create meals that family and friends enjoyed. Besides learning how to cook I also found lots of shortcuts to the entrees that I now use at home and in the recipe below.
Marinara is a very easy sauce to make and depending on your time, can be made in as little as 45 minutes. When I began working in these establishments, I was very much afraid of making mistakes especially with sauces as the sauce is the very first taste you get in your first bite. Italian and French sauces are very intimidating but I learned how to succeed with creating sauces for any meal. The key to Marinara is the first step of sautéing the onions and garlic before adding anything else. Also remember to smash the garlic cloves to get the best flavor. I also use a flavored olive oil like citrus habanera or ginger garlic for added complexity of flavors!
Below is my version of this signature Italian meal and I hope that you give it a try! Marinara is typically a very thin and flavorful sauce, my Marinara version, it is a bit thin by still chunky. So my sauce will end up chunky from the quartered tomatoes and diced onions and sweet peppers even if minced. I prefer a thicker type of sauce and this shows it.
Until the next blog post - Aloha & Mahalo!
Chicken Parmesan with Marinara Sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, coarsely diced
1 sweet pepper, coarsely diced
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
4-6 Roma tomatoes, firm and dark red in color
1 16 oz can tomato paste
½ c. red wine, (Cabernet or Claret)
1tsp. smoked salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. Papule Chixen rub
Sauté garlic and onions in oil over medium heat until onions are translucent in appearance. Quarter up tomatoes and add to onions and garlic mix. Add diced peppers and stir in tomato paste and wine. Add salt and seasoning rub and mix well. Mash down tomatoes when thoroughly cooked. Reduce heat to a simmer for at least 30 minutes.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. Papule Chixen rub
¼ container bread crumbs
4 -6 slices Provolone Cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a mallet, tenderize both side of each breast. Apply olive oil and Papule Chixen Rub over both sides of breasts and set aside in a bowl. Pour breadcrumbs over each breast and gently press breadcrumbs onto both sides of the chicken.
Place chicken breasts into large oiled shallow pan and cover with aluminum or lid. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. To finish off, melt provolone cheese over each breast.
Serve chicken over fettuccini or linguini and top with a ladle of Marinara over entire dish. Add a salad and good crusty Italian bread will complete the meal!