Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mama Scanloni's Ground Chicken Parmesan

Yum!! The good stuff! Parmigiano Reggiano (photo by Jon Sullivan)

Okay, I'm not Italian and this dish would never qualify as authentic. However, whenever I find a dish that my whole family loves, I call it a success. And, my family loves this one.

I do love love love Chicken Parmesan, but it can be heavy and fatty. It often calls for heavy breading with butter, bread crumbs, eggs, and seems to call for loads of cheese. I made this version which sneaks in some veggies and eliminates the breading (I promise, you won't even miss it). Ground chicken can be dry, so the addition of veggies keeps it moist and light.

If you use parmigiano reggiano--the good stuff--you can use less and still get a real punch of flavor. Serve this with a side of pasta--we like the Barilla White Fiber pasta--and a green, such as sauteed spinach. Don't forget a glass of red for the adults and maybe a glass of purple (grape juice) for the kids. How civilized!

Ground Chicken Parmesan
makes 4-6 servings

1 pound ground chicken breast
1/2 zucchini, shredded (slice remainder and reserve)
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg white
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 quart good quality marinara sauce (or make your own with this recipe)

Part-skim shredded mozzarella, if desired
grated parmigiano reggiano

8 oz your choice pasta, prepared according to directions

Prepare four to six individual baking dishes (or an 8 x 8 baking pan) by spraying with cooking spray and covering the bottom of each with marinara sauce (2-3 tablespoons should be enough).  Place dishes on a baking sheet layered with aluminum foil.

Place ground chicken breast in medium bowl and add zucchini, carrot, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, egg white, salt and Parmesan. Mix gently with hands. The patties will be a little sticky.

Form four to six patties from the mixture, making them as thin as possible. Heat oil in a frying pan and place the patties in. Cook a few minutes on one side until brown. Flip to the other side and brown. Lower heat, cover and cook until meat thermometer registers 165 degrees.

Remove patties from pan and place one each onto the marinara sauce in individual baking dishes.

Add reserved sliced zucchini to the frying pan and saute until tender. Pour remaining marinara sauce into pan and heat together with the zucchini.

Divide marinara sauce equally over patties. Sprinkle with mozzarella and/or parmesan. For my kids, I add a little mozzarella plus the parm. For the adults, just a sprinkling of parmesan is perfect.

Slide the baking sheet with the dishes of chicken Parmesan into the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbly.

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