Think back to the most fantastic chicken parmesan you've ever eaten. There's no doubt it was melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a slightly crispy crust, and covered in creamy, melted mozzarella cheese and fresh tomato sauce. You may have been served this dish at a restaurant, or perhaps by your significant other's Italian grandmother. If you think you can't make chicken parmesan that delicious at home, think again! The recipe here includes a few tricks and twists that will turn this classic Italian supper into your family's most requested meal. It is not difficult to make, but does take some time, so you may want to reserve this recipe for a leisurely weekend dinner instead of a busy weeknight meal. Chicken parmesan is a family favorite that pleases even the pickiest of husbands and kids. Once you and your family taste this delicious recipe, it just may become a weekend tradition.
In 2-quart sauce pot, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil on medium heat until soft and fragrant, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes and crush them with a potato masher or large fork as they heat. Stir in sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer about one hour, or until the sauce is reduced and thickened. The trick at this point is to remove the sauce from the burner and stir in shredded basil leaves. The longer basil cooks, the more flavor it loses. So adding at the end makes for a fresher-tasting sauce. If the sauce tastes too acidic for your liking, another trick is to add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until the acidic taste is gone.
Note: Ready-made, jarred tomato sauce may be substituted for homemade tomato sauce if you prefer. To make it taste more homemade, stir in 1/2 cup fresh shredded basil leaves.
Preheat your oven to 450 F.
Place chicken cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with the flat side of a meat mallet until they are of uniform thickness, about 1/2 inch thick. Place the flour in a shallow dish, salt and pepper it to taste and mix thoroughly. Mix the eggs with the milk or cream in a small bowl. Place the Italian breadcrumbs in a shallow dish, and mix in 1/8 cup parmesan cheese. Dredge a chicken cutlet in the flour mixture, covering it entirely. Shake off the excess, and then dip the cutlet into the egg mixture, completely wetting it. Dredge the cutlet in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat the flour-egg-breadcrumb coating with the remaining cutlets.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the cutlets in the skillet, and fry until the batter is browned, about four or five minutes. A tried-and-true trick is not allowing the cutlets to touch. If they do, their edges will cook together, and when you remove them from the skillet, the coating can tear away from the metal. Flip carefully, and fry for again the same amount of time.
Place the cutlets in a shallow baking dish. If your skillet is oven-proof, you may use it in place of a baking dish. Spoon tomato sauce over the cutlets, but don't cover them completely. Top each with a slice of mozzarella, and then sprinkle each cutlet with 1/8 cup of parmesan cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese and sauce are bubbly.
Serve over hot cooked spaghetti, with garlic toast and a green salad on the side. Wines that would go well with this dish include Sangiovese, Chianti, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Chardonnay.