Weeknights are for simple meals that take little prep and little time. This meal is ideal for a Wednesday date night after a long day at the office. A simple sauce for the spaghetti simmers low and slow while you prep chicken cutlets on the stove. It's one of those recipes that you can make under 30 minutes but tastes like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day. Put on an apron, throw your hair up and get cooking ladies. It’s a night for good wine, great food and Netflix with your partner.
Chicken Milanese sounds much fancier than it is. Thin chicken cutlets are breaded and shallow-fried in a pan for a quick protein to top your choice of pasta. Since there is a lot of flavor in the breading of the chicken, I prefer to keep the pasta simple. Plum tomatoes, mashed up, with a little bit of basil, salt and pepper come together beautifully and allow the chicken to stand out. It’s a dish that shines from its simplicity and there’s nothing wrong with that. Serve with a side salad if you’d like something extra.
Get the sauce started first so it can simmer while you’re prepping the rest of the meal. Get your water boiling to add the pasta. Spaghetti cooks pretty quick but if you’d like an even quicker cooking pasta, look for Angel Hair. Get three bowls ready. In one, mix together the herbs, breadcrumbs and grated cheese. The cheese adds richness to the dish without being obvious. In the second bowl, add your egg and scramble it with a fork. In the third, mix together the garlic powder and flower. The garlic powder is another way to add flavor to the dish without getting too crazy. Dredge the cutlets first into the flour, followed by the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. If you want it extra crispy, dredge back into the egg and breadcrumbs a second time. Pour a thin layer of oil into a hot pan and fry the cutlets on each side. Since they are thin, the meat will cook through quick and the breading will get nice and crisp. It’s so tasty. This might become a favorite in your home, like mine!
Chicken Milanese with Simple Spaghetti
For the Spaghetti:
28 ounce Plum Tomatoes
1 bunch Basil (or 2 tbsp. dried)
1/2 lb. Spaghetti
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
For the Chicken:
2 thin-cut Chicken Breasts
¼ cup Breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 tsp. Dried Basil
½ tsp. Dried Oregano
½ tsp. Dried Parsley
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
½ cup Flour
Salt & Pepper
1. In a medium saucepan, add the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and let cook 30 minutes.
2. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, stir and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente, drain, return to the pot and toss with olive oil.
3. Prepare the chicken. Mix the breadcrumbs, herbs and cheese together in a bowl and the flour and garlic powder in a different bowl. Place the egg in a third bowl and gently scramble with a fork. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Dip the chicken cutlets first in flour, then the egg, back into the flour and the egg once more. Finally, dip the chicken into the breadcrumbs. Place the coated chicken into the hot oil. Let cook about 5-6 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through.
4. Mix the sauce with the spaghetti. Divide among two plates and top with the chicken. Serve.
Yields 2 Servings
What’s a go-to dish you have for date night in your home?