Thursday, August 28, 2008

My first homemade tomato sauce

I've known for a long time that I should be making my own tomato sauce. Yet I haven't because the jar is just so convenient. But when Matt requested Chicken Parmesan, I decided it was time.

Both the chicken and the sauce from this recipe tasted fantastic. The one complaint Matt and I had was that there wasn't quite enough sauce. I may have let it simmer too long, I'm not sure. The flavor though, was amazing. My kitchen smelled like an Italian restaurant. And adding the basil I grew from seeds was so rewarding. Especially since I'm a plant killer and the basil is still thriving. (Yay me!)

Chicken Parmesan
Source: Nook & Pantry
4 chicken breasts, sliced or pounded thin
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
16 ounces pasta (Spaghetti or Linguini)

Tomato Sauce
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
28 oz. can diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes crushed
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb mix
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup basil leaves (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and add the onions. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add the tomatoes, dried herbs, sugar, black pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens. Salt to taste. Keep warm and set aside.

Begin boiling water for the pasta. Meanwhile, beat the egg, and prepare two trays for the flour and the panko bread crumbs.

Salt and pepper the chicken cutlets. Lightly dredge them in flour, patting off the excess, then dip into the beaten egg, then press and coat both sides with panko. Set aside until all cutlets are breaded.

Preheat broiler (I used my toaster oven). Add your pasta and some salt to the boiling water. Cook the chicken while the pasta is boiling.

Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Pan fry the chicken cutlets until both sides are golden brown, about 2 - 3 minutes per side.

Transfer the chicken cutlets onto a tray lined with a wire rack. Mix the mozzarella and Parmesan together and cover each cutlet with some cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and spotty brown.

Meanwhile drain the pasta when it is finished. Roughly chop or tear the basil leaves and stir them into the sauce. Transfer the pasta and chicken to plates and spoon the sauce on top.

I'm sure I'll still turn to the jar once in a while, but I will no longer fear making my own sauce. It's just so much better.


  1. I tried spaghetti sauce once too, and the same thing happened to me, there felt like there wasn't enough to SLATHER my noodles with it! I did make a second batch and added more liquid about half-way through the simmer process, I ended up storing the rest in Ball freezer jam jars and they are delish! I'll have to try out your recipe next time I'm feeling ambitious in the kitchen.

  2. Adrienne - I made this again last night only this time I pureed about 2/3 then added it back to the remaining chunky 1/3. This gave me a bit more sauce but even still, I plan to double the recipe next time.