And so the end of the UK financial year approaches and as is typical of this time of year, government organisations are busy spending what’s left of their budget before some bright spark takes any unspent amounts off them for the next. Kind of reminds me of the way, before Euros, holiday makers would frantically try and spend their drachma, before boarding the plane home (unless you were a Greek holiday maker of course). Always baffles me that one. No, not baffles, annoys. It means a huge slug of work descends upon me for two unfeasibly busy months of the year whilst we work to this magic ‘must be invoiced by early April’ deadline.
Don’t get me wrong, I should be grateful in these tough times, but it has meant working a lot of late nights and weekends. In turn, cooking takes a back seat and takeaways and restaurants move up front.
Whilst still busy, I’m trying to ease back into the old routine and thought I’d post a Frankly household favourite of Chicken Milanese, or less romantically, breaded chicken. It meant I also got to show off my oblong plates, bought for me by Helen a little while back 😉
For this I had some nice free-range chicken fillets which are simply bashed flat and breaded in the usual production line of seasoned flour, egg and breadcrumbs. I used some panko breadcrumbs here which I know aren’t traditionally Italian of course, but are nevertheless great for this dish. For a bit more flavour I also added freshly grated parmesan to the crumbs for a salty kick.
I made twice the amount of spaghetti I needed to take the rest into the office for lunch 😉
- Two chicken breasts at room temperature
- Oil for shallow frying
- 1 egg, beaten
- 150g or 1/2 cup of flour, seasoned with salt, chilli flakes and pepper to taste
- two large handfuls of panko breadcrumb (ordinary will do of course)
- 1 small handful of grated parmesan
- 150g spaghetti
- 2 tsp salt (for the pasta water)
- 1 clove of garlic, finely slices
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 7 large fresh tomatoes, quartered (or use tinned – 400g)
- 1 good pinch sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil to finish
Start with the pasta sauce: Gently fry off the garlic in a medium pan for a minute and add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, so the juice start to com out
Using a blender, blitz the tomatoes to a smooth sauce and push through a fine sieve with a tablespoon back into a pan. Add the sugar and leave to simmer for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and season to taste.
Boil the pasta. I won’t go into details here! Once the pasta goes into the boiling pan, though, start the chicken. It’s flat so won’t take long to cook
Put a large pan on the heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom. Bash the fillets flat using a rolling pin and some cling film. Dust them in the flour then dip in the egg, ensuring you remove any excess. Lastly, cover in the breadcrumb, pressing down to coat them well.
Fry for 10 minutes until just done (or they’ll dry out) – I used a thermometer again.
Check the pasta!
Gently warm the sauce if needed and stir through the drained pasta. Bellissimo.