Whether you call it chicken parmigiana or chicken parmesan, this chicken parm with brown butter marinara is the best comforting meal ever.
I rarely make chicken parmigiana because of how labor intense it is, but this recipe with brown butter marinara makes all the work totally worthwhile.
I use fresh tomatoes in this incredible brown butter marinara recipe, but you can use a 28-ounce can and a 14.5-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, too!
How to make this Chicken Parmigiana with Brown Butter Marinara:
Before you even start the chicken parm, you will want to start the brown butter marinara, particularly if you’re using ripe tomatoes.
First, you’ll blanch the tomatoes by putting them in boiling water. Once their skins split, you’ll toss them in an ice bath and then peel and remove the cores. I use my hands to crush them up!
Next, you’ll toss out the boiling water from the pot and use the same pot to start the marinara. First, sweat garlic and onion and then add butter. I used half a stick. Let the butter bubble and froth, stirring often, until it begins to deepen in color and smell aromatic. Add your crushed tomatoes, a big sprig of basil, along with salt and pepper and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 30-40 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, you will begin the chicken! This part requires three shallow bowls or plates with lips. I prefer using plates because it gives you a wider surface area. You’ll simply bread the chicken and then fry it up and set aside on a plate.
The next step is to simply ladle enough sauce to cover the bottom of a baking dish and then arrange the fried chicken cutlets on top. You can use shredded or fresh mozzarella, but I prefer fresh mozzarella sliced into rounds, personally. Next you just bake it and broil it until the cheese is beautiful and toasty.
Before I bake the chicken, I like to get a big pot of water going to boil the pasta. Personally, I think chicken parmigiana is best if you can serve it immediately from the oven, so you’ll want to get things staged so that the pasta finishes cooking a few minutes before you pull the chicken out of the oven.
WHEW. You’ll go through a bunch of pots and pans and a bunch of plates, but you’ll be rewarded with an amazing and comforting dinner of chicken parm, so it all balances out right? What’s your preferred name for chicken parm? Do you call it parmigiana or chicken parmesan? Or do you opt for chicky chicky parm parm?
Looking for more pasta recipes? Check my archives!
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Chicken Parmigiana with Brown Butter Marinara
- Deep Cast Iron Pot
- Large pot
- 9×13 Baking Dish
Brown Butter Marinara:
- 4 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 large sprig basil
- Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
- 1½ pound chicken breasts thin sliced
- 1½ cups panko or bread crumbs
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup oil for frying
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese sliced into 12 rounds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 16 ounces spaghetti
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- Dry or fresh minced parsley
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Start the Brown Butter Marinara:
- Heat water in a large pot over high heat until boiling. Add the tomatoes and boil for 5-6 minutes or until the skins begin to split. Transfer the tomatoes to an ice bath and drain the water out of the pot.
Peel and Crush the Tomatoes:
- Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and remove the skins and cores. Crush the tomatoes and strain off excess water. Set aside.
Cook the Aromatics:
- In the same pot, heat 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until it begins to soften slightly. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
Brown the Butter:
- Melt the butter into the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir regularly for 4-6 minutes as the butter becomes frothy and deepens in color. The butter will take on a nutty aroma as it browns. Once the butter reaches a dark amber color, add the tomatoes.
Simmer the Marinara:
- Bring the marinara to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Add the basil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Taste and season again with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
Bread the Chicken:
- As the marinara simmers, bread and fry the chicken. First, preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Prepare a breading station of 3 plates with lips or shallow bowls. The first plate will have the flour. The second plate will have beaten eggs. The third plate will have the bread crumbs combined with the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Season the bread crumbs with salt and pepper.
- Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in the wide, deep cast iron pot over medium heat. Individually dredge each chicken cutlet in flour, then dip into the eggs, and then the bread crumbs. Ensure the chicken is well-coated with bread crumbs. Transfer the chicken to a platter.
- Once the oil sizzles with a drop of water, place the chicken cutlets (2-3 at a time…do not overcrowd the pot) in the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side until crispy and golden. The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this stage. After the chicken is crispy and browned, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Continue on until all of the chicken is fried.
Bake the Chicken Parmigiana:
- Ladle a few scoops of marinara into the 9×13 baking dish. Place the chicken on top and arrange two slices of mozzarella on each cutlet. Transfer to the oven for 10-12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted.
- Turn on the broiler. After the chicken has baked, transfer to the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown in spots. Remove the chicken from the oven and set aside.
Cook the Pasta:
- As the chicken bakes, cook the spaghetti. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.
- Add the reserved pasta cooking water to the remaining marinara sauce and toss the spaghetti with the marinara. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the cooked pasta between plates and place a chicken cutlet on top. Garnish with parsley and more parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!