I have a very sad true story to tell you. My dear, darling, beloved fiance is Italian. Not only that, but he happens to be the only Italian in the history of the world who does not like mozzarella cheese. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but it makes me very sad. I love mozzarella cheese. Not that awful bagged, shredded junk. Fresh, creamy wonderful mozzarella. Very soon here I am going to learn how to make my own. Then there will be no end to the delicious mozzarella in my life!
The sad part about this recipe, is that my fiance will never be able to enjoy it the way it is meant to be enjoyed; with creamy, melted mozzarella covering the chicken and making the whole recipe perfect. It must be very boring to hate delicious food. Ugh.
As far as I am concerned, this sandwich was pure heaven. I will say, you HAVE to use fresh mozzarella. And you HAVE to make your own marinara. Nothing store bought can ever come close to a delicious homemade marinara, and it is really simple enough that you will never want to buy it in a can again anyway! The best part about it is that after you combine all the ingredients, you can basically let it simmer for as long as it takes you to make the rest of your meal. It also keep fabulously in the fridge or bagged and frozen, so if you make a huge batch at a time you will be able to use if whenever you want! Marinara only gets better after a day or so in the fridge. I made enough to have these sandwiches the last two nights, and tonight I’m planning to use it on pasta!
As it is still cold and wintery her in Minnesota, I used dried herbs in my sauce. That is what I had on hand, and the “fresh” herbs in the store didn’t look that great this week. Either one is fine, but if you use fresh make sure you adjust the measurements accordingly. A tsp of fresh parsley and a tsp of dried parsley are very different things.
Finally, if you are an evil, angry, food hating monster, feel free to leave the mozzarella off. Like my fiance does. Saves more delicious food for the rest of us!
Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 1/2 white or brown onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 3 large, fresh tomatoes
- 1 large can crushed tomatoes
- 1 8 oz can tomato paste
- 1 tsp each of dried oregano, basil, parsley, tarragon, and rosemary
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt to taste
Dice the onions. Put them in a large saucepan with one tablespoon olive oil on medium heat and cook until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, around 30 seconds. Dice the tomatoes and put them in the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to disintegrate into a sauce.
Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and all the herbs and spices. Mix together and bring to a simmer. Let cook for at least a half hour, but more if desired or if you have time.
The sauce should be thick and fragrant when it is done. Keep warm until ready to serve, or put in fridge or freezer to store.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp dry parsley
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 buns
- 8 slices fresh mozzarella
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- garlic butter (optional)
Start by cleaning your chicken breasts. Then cover them in plastic wrap on your cutting board and pound them flat with a meat pounder, or a large pan or skillet if you don’t have one. You want to pound them until they are thin and even.
After pounding the chicken, get out three bowls. In the first put your flour. The second, one beaten egg. In the third combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and all the spices. Take each piece of chicken and cover it in first flour, then egg, then the cheese and breadcrumb mixture. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Cook each piece until browned and crispy, then flip. Remove from heat and onto a paper towel when cooked through.
Slice each piece of chicken in half. Toast each bun with garlic butter (if desired) in the oven on broil. On the bun set 1/2 piece of chicken and two slices of cheese.