A satisfying, family-friendly dish that’s great for company, too! Timesaving tip: You can make the sauce one day ahead of time, or just skip the homemade sauce and use your favorite L&B jarred pasta sauce instead.
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes for the sauce, 45 minutes for the chicken
Basic tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup coarsely grated peeled carrots
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes in juice
5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
1 large egg
½ cup all-purpose flour
2-3 tablespoons olive oil (more if needed)
1 ½ cups coarsely grated well-drained fresh water-packed mozzarella, divided (or substitute regular mozzarella cheese)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
For the tomato sauce:
- Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add carrots and thyme; sauté until carrots are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes with juice; bring to boil, coarsely crushing tomatoes with potato masher or fork.
- Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to about 2 cups, about 1 hour. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Make-ahead instructions: Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly after cooking. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm sauce before using.
For the chicken:
- Place chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken breasts to ⅓-inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
- Spread breadcrumbs on plate. Whisk egg in medium bowl. Spread flour on another plate.
- Coat both sides of chicken with flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs.
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken to skillet (in batches, if necessary) and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed (chicken will not be cooked through). Transfer chicken to platter.
- Spread a layer of sauce over bottom of 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish.
- Arrange chicken over sauce. Spoon remaining sauce over. Sprinkle mozzarella, Parmesan, and Pecorino on top of chicken. Continue to repeat layers until all chicken is used.
- Bake until cheeses melt and chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and marjoram and serve.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit