Breaded chicken gets baked to crunchy perfection then sandwiched between melted mozzarella & a light, fresh tomato sauce in Lidia Bastianich's Pizzaiola recipe.
"The dish has quickly become one of our most popular at lunch," Lidia Bastianich says about the chicken pizzaiola served at Felidia, her flagship restaurant in New York City. "The chicken is so tender that you don’t need a knife to cut it—and the pizzaiola preparation is a favorite tradition of Italian American Culture."
Adapted from Felidia: Recipes From My Flagship Restaurant by Lidia Bastianich. Copyright © 2019 by Lidia Bastianich. Used with permission by Knopf. All rights reserved.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), trimmed of fat and gristle
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup freshly grated Grana Padano
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Sicilian, on the branch
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus ¼ cup leaves and whole sprigs for garnish
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups prepared fresh Tomato Sauce
- 4 slices low-moisture mozzarella
- 4 roasted cherry tomatoes, for garnish (optional)
Season the chicken breasts with salt, and place in a releasable plastic bag. Pour in the buttermilk, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Drain the chicken, and preheat oven to 400˚F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the panko, grated Grana Padano, dried oregano, chopped parsley, chopped basil, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ tablespoon salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Put the drained chicken breasts in the bowl with the seasoned breadcrumbs one at a time, and pat well on both sides so the crumbs cover the chicken on all sides. Set the breaded chicken breasts on the parchment paper, arranged so they don’t touch each other.
Bake the chicken until the coating is crisp and browned and the chicken is just cooked through, about 15 minutes. While the chicken bakes, combine the tomato sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ¼ cup basil leaves in a blender, and puree until smooth. Season with salt. Pour the puree into a small saucepan, and warm it over low heat.
When the chicken is just cooked through, top with the sliced mozzarella and bake until the cheese is just melted, about 2 minutes. Spread the tomato emulsion on plates, top with the chicken and a roasted cherry tomato, if using, and serve.