This baked chicken marinara dish is my mother's version of chicken parmesan, in that chicken pieces, are breaded, fried, smothered with sauce, topped with Mozzarella, and baked.
Rather than pounding thin chicken breasts though, my mother uses more flavorful boneless skinless chicken thighs. She adds plenty of fresh basil to the marinara tomato sauce.
Tastes great served with pasta for a chicken marinara pasta dish. So good! Comfort food at its best.
Baked Chicken Marinara
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, peeled, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 9 boneless chicken thighs (skinless or skin-on, your preference), if large pieces, then cut in half
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Make the sauce:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
Add the tomatoes, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Bread the chicken pieces:
Combine the grated Parmesan and the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Put the flour in another separate bowl, and the beaten eggs in another bowl.
Dredge each piece of chicken first in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, and then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Brown the chicken on the stovetop:
Heat 4 Tbsp of olive oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Working in batches if necessary, add chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
Bake the chicken with the sauce and cheese:
Place chicken pieces on an oven-proof serving dish. Spoon sauce over chicken pieces. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F, or microwave on high heat for 10-20 seconds, just until the cheese has melted.