Chicken Pizzaiola

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I found a picture of the most glistening lightly browned chicken cutlets over a bed of vibrant red and deliciously pulpy looking tomato sauce in an old cookbook I bought at a library book sale. It was perfectly simple. Funny enough, the picture doesn’t match the recipe beside it (or any other recipe in that cookbook) and I wished so bad that it did. This recipe was inspired by that picture and by my Nonna who makes the best brandy-soaked chicken cutlets around.

Chicken Pizzaiola 

For 4

  • 1/4 cup of brandy
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced into strips & each strip pounded out a bit to flatten evenly
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • a pinch of hot chili flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 jar of tomato passata (660 ml)
  • 1 Tbsp pitted and chopped oil-cured black olives (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Cover the chicken breast strips with the brandy in a bowl and marinate for at least 2 hours (overnight maximum) in the fridge.

Put the flour in a bowl and mix in a bit of salt and pepper. Shake off excess brandy from the strips of chicken and pat them dry with some paper towels (this will help the flour stick to the chicken instead of the pan while frying). Dredge the strips in the flour mixture to coat.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the butter and 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the coated chicken strips and fry for 3-5 minutes per side, or until lightly brown and no longer pink inside. Remove the chicken strips from the pan and keep warm.

Add 1 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan with the garlic, parsley, hot chili flakes and bay leaf and fry for 1-2 minutes being careful not to brown the garlic too much. Then, stir in the tomato passata, oregano, and black olives (if using). Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and drizzle with the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.

To serve, spoon the sauce on a large serving plate (remove & discard the bay leaf), lay the chicken pieces on top of the sauce and sprinkle everything with the Parmesan or Romano cheese .

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