Friday, November 30, 2007

Presto Pasta Night: Happy 40th Chicken Parm

Ruth of Once Upon a Feast's highly successful weekly event Presto Pasta Night turns 40 this week! Make sure you head over there later today to see all the fabulous pasta dishes that everyone will have sent Ruth this past week. You'll surely find something in one of the round-ups to fix for dinner tonight or later this weekend.

To help Ruth celebrate I made one of my all time favourite classic American Italian restaurant dishes Chicken Parmigiana. I don't make this at home ever. Seriously too messy of a dish to make at home for me and besides, I never can get the breading for the chicken cutlet to look like the restaurant version. I end up with grease all over the stove and half the breading adhered to the bottom of the frying pan. So, I reserve this dish for when I'm out at a good "classic" American Italian restaurant. You know, the ones with the red velveteen wallpapers, gold flecked mirrors behind a bar with with a swag chandelier hanging over the candle wax encrusted Chianti bottle and a steady stream of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett on the muzak system.

However, I have recently discovered a treat at my local mom and pop grocery store/butcher shop, The Market Basket. They make the best breaded chicken cutlet I've ever had outside of a restaurant and they make them fresh each day for their deli sandwiches and to sell at the butcher counter for quick meal ideas.

I was standing at the butcher counter in the Market Basket chatting while I waited for one of the girls to get me a quart of heavy cream from the fridge case in back lamenting that I had no idea what to have for dinner other than toss some of my always ready in the freezer tomato sauce on top of the few left over cheese ravioli I had in the fridge. He laughed and said I should get one of the chicken cutlets and a package of mozzarella, heat the cutlet for 20 seconds in the microwave and then put it on top the ravioli and pour the sauce over and then zap it all for about another minute or so and I'd have almost homemade Chicken Parm that was just like you get at a good local Italian restaurant.

You know what, he was right!

Deli Counter Chicken Parm

Serves one

1 deli breaded chicken cutlet
1 cup cooked pasta (I used four cheese ravioli)
1/2 cup tomato pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta and heat sauce. Drain pasta and set aside. In microwave, heat chicken cutlet for 20-30 seconds until just about hot. Plate pasta and place warmed chicken cutlet on top of cooked pasta, top with sauce and cheese. Microwave for 1 minute or until cheese is melted.

Serve with slice of garlic bread, small salad and glass of red wine.