Give your chicken a major flavor boost by stuffing pieces of Parmigiano Reggiano into the meat before searing. While the chicken is cooking, prepare this quick, flavorful tomato sauce with fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes and slowly sauteed garlic. Finish it off with a handful of fresh basil and a swirl of creamy butter and you will be in heaven!
4 boneless chicken breasts (about ⅓ pound each)
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 pints cherry tomatoes, sliced in half from top to bottom.
10 thinly sliced garlic cloves
½ cup thinly sliced basil leaves
1 pinch crushed red pepper
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Pepper, freshly ground
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking pan with foil.
- Cut the Parmesan into 32 ¼ -inch pieces and set aside. Pat each chicken breast dry with a paper towel. Make 8 small, shallow slits into the top side of each chicken breast. Gently insert a piece of Parmesan into each slit. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the pan is hot, place the chicken breasts in the pan, top side down. Sear the chicken until the breast lifts easily from the pan and is browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and place them on the baking pan with the seared side facing up. Finish cooking in the oven for 15 minutes or until the flesh is firm, yet has a little “give” when pressed. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit covered for 5 minutes before slicing.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the tomato sauce using the same pan you seared the chicken in. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in the pan and turn the heat to medium low. Cook the garlic slowly until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and basil. Raise the heat to medium high and cook until the tomatoes break down and become saucy, about 10 minutes. To finish the sauce, turn off the heat and slowly stir in the cold butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with sliced chicken.
Basil Tomato Corn Sauce
The addition of fresh corn kernels to the cherry tomato sauce above creates a colorful and delicious complement to seafood, chicken, or pasta. Prepare the sauce as above. When the tomatoes begin to break down, add ½ cup of water and the kernels cut from two fresh ears of corn. Bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and finish the sauce with cold butter as above.
Southwest Mussels with Tomato Corn Sauce
Prepare the Basil Tomato Corn Sauce without the basil. Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin with the tomatoes and 2 pounds of cleaned mussels with the corn kernels. Finish the sauce with butter and a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro. Serve with pasta or polenta.