Pumpernickel Crusted Chicken Parmesan with Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
Turning things upside down, in life or work, can be a rejuvenating and enlightening experience. Like starting a revolution, the good kind, it’s the antithesis of thinking in the norm while shattering common thought in favor of something new. I hold myself to the standard of reinventing what I do and how I do it constantly in order to never stop learning, both personally and professionally. Chicken parmesan is a simple and consistent dish rooted in comfort. For this recipe, the addition of toasted pumpernickel bread as the crust delivered unconventional crunch that was unique and memorable. The moist and creamy spaghetti squash with hints of fresh basil, along with the spicy freshly made tomato sauce, delivered the remaining foundation. But layering this dish differently delivered an important part of the composition. With the squash on top, chicken on bottom, and sauce inbetween allowed for the celebration of the delicate and comforting vegetable and the full surprise underneath from the pumpernickel crunch. Topside down or downside up, it’s always about reinventing while making it memorable, and tasty.
SECRET INGREDIENT: Pumpernickel
TIP: Let chicken rest before slicing to make it more moist
Pumpernickel Crusted Chicken Parmesan with Roasted Spaghetti Squash
For Tomato Sauce
- Extra-virgin olive oil (1 Tbsp)
- Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
- Onion (1/2 cup, chopped)
- Crushed red pepper (1/2 tsp)
- Dried Basil (1Tbsp)
- Dried Oregano (1 Tbsp)
- Tomato paste (2 Tbsp)
- Red wine (1/4 cup)
- Basil (2 whole stems with leaves)
- Bay leaves (1)
- Crushed tomatoes (28-ounce can)
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- In a saucepan, heat the oil and then add onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, dried basil, and oregano. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute.
- Increase heat to high and add red wine, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add whole basil leaves with stems, bay leaf, and crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Discard bay leaf and basil stems.
- Spaghetti Squash
- Olive oil
- Salt & fresh ground pepper
- Rosemary sprigs (2)
- Butter (4 Tbsp, divided)
- Parmesan Reggiano (1/2 cup, grated, divided)
- Basil (2 Tbsp, chopped, divided)
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and remove seeds and membranes using a metal spoon. Place squash halves, cut side facing up, and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place rosemary sprigs in center of each squash.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until just tender.
- Remove from oven and discard rosemary sprigs.
- Using a fork, scrap insides of squash to make spaghetti threads. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of basil to each half of squash and toss to combine.
For Chicken Parmesan
- Pumpernickel bread (5 slices, cubed)
- Parmesan Reggiano (1/2 cup, grated)
- Chicken cutlets (1 lb)
- Salt & fresh ground pepper
- Flour (for dusting)
- Eggs (2, beaten)
- Olive oil (1 Tbsp)
- Fontina cheese (4 oz, sliced thin)
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Place pumpernickel pieces on backing sheet lined with foil. Bake in oven for 10 minutes until cubes are crunchy. Remove from oven and transfer to food processor. Process bread to make bread crumbs (not too fine).
- Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place flour in a third pan or medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In separate bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water. In third bowl, mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- First dredge chicken in flour on both sides, then coat with egg on both sides allowing excess to run off. Then place in panko mixture and coat both sides pressing firmly to ensure crumbs adhere.
- In skillet on medium high heat with olive oil, add chicken and brown for 3 minutes on both sides until just golden. Transfer to baking pan, and bake in oven at 350°F for 20 minutes.
- In last 5 minutes, top chicken with fontina cheese to melt. Remove from oven and let rest. Slice chicken cutlets once lengthwise and then crosswise into bite size pieces.
- Plate with a serving of chicken in bottom of bowl, add a serving of tomato sauce over chicken, and then top with spaghetti squash. Garnish with torn basil leaves.
-- Weather When Posted --
- Temperature: 54°F;
- Humidity: 55%;
- Heat Index: 54°F;
- Wind Chill: 51°F;
- Pressure: 29.5 in.;