You only have to look at a handful of recipes from my blog to know that I am heavily influenced by Italian food. For me, nothing quite beats a bowl of steaming hot pasta tossed with a simple, yet amazingly tasty homemade sauce. Throw on a bit of parmesan and serve with some warm toasted ciabatta with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil… I honestly can’t think of much better than that.
Now I’ve spoken many times before about how amazing pasta is and how it’s my absolute favourite food in the world, so lets not bore you with all that again. Although, I could quite easily talk for hours about it… Pasta would most definitely be my topic of choice if ever I was to appear on Mastermind, and let me tell you… I’d bloody win as well! Anyway, enough about pasta. In fact, pasta’s not even the star of the show in this recipe. This time it’s all about the fried chicken!
When I say fried chicken I’m not going on about KFC style chicken by the way. I’m talking about panko crusted, parmesan coated, crisped in Italian olive oil fried chicken! In my opinion, the best kind of fried food there is. Anything coated in panko breadcrumbs will always beat a bit of southern fried chicken in my books any day of the week! What are panko breadcrumbs I hear some of you saying… well let me tell you, they’re just about the best breadcrumbs in the whole entire world. So much so that I am afraid to say that I have become a bit of a breadcrumb snob. Yes, it’s true. I turn my nose up at any other type of breadcrumbs these days and refuse to use anything else but these Japanese beauties.
I’m sure I am not alone in my breadcrumb snobbery, so for those of you who are equally obsessed with panko breadcrumbs, well this recipe is for you. For those of you who are new to all this, I suggest you think long and hard about whether or not you are ready to be converted. Golden breadcrumbs will just never be the same again…
2 skinless chicken breasts
Punnet of cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
100g plain flour, seasoned
80g panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
150g fresh tagliatelle
1 tablespoon tomato puree
A couple of handfuls of freshly torn basil
Freshly grated parmesan
Salt and fresh black pepper
You will need some cling film and a heavy rolling pin for this recipe!
- Begin by heating a drizzle of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Once the oil has heated throw in all your halved cherry tomatoes and fry for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the garlic and fry for a further minute and then mix in the tomato puree. Add a splash of water and turn down to a simmer making sure to stir every now and then.
- Meanwhile, place your chicken breasts (one at a time) in between two pieces of clingfilm and then carefully beat with a rolling pin. You want to flatten the chicken making it around double the width of its original size. Be careful not to beat it too much though as you don’t want it to be too thin.
- Put your chicken to one side and lay three large plates out. Pour the flour out onto one making sure to season it with salt and fresh black pepper, the beaten egg onto the next and then your panko breadcrumbs onto the third one. Begin by dusting the chicken in the flour, then dipping it into the egg and then coating it with the panko breadcrumbs. Set to one side and then follow this same process with the other piece of chicken.
- At this point you will want to get a pan of salted water on the hob ready for your pasta. While this is heating, get a large frying pan and pour in a generous amount of olive oil. You will need enough to shallow fry the chicken. Carefully heat the oil to a high heat and when hot enough gently place your coated chicken pieces into the pan.
- Fry for around five minutes on each side or until cooked through. Just before you remove the chicken from the pan sprinkle some parmesan on top of the chicken and then carefully flip it. Fry for a further minute to allow the cheese to crisp and then remove the chicken from the pan and set to one side.
- Leave the chicken to rest while you cook your fresh pasta (should only take a few minutes). Drain the pasta keeping some of the cooking liquid to one side and then toss through your tomato sauce. Add some of the water to loosen the sauce if needed. Throw in the fresh basil leaves and season with salt and fresh black pepper.
- Serve alongside your amazing fried chicken with some extra parmesan grated on top. Fresh pasta and panko fried chicken… what could be better?