Chicken Parmesan Pasta with Gremolata is a classic American-Italian dish with a little twist for an extra burst of flavor. This mouthwatering recipe is perfect for a cozy night in or a family dinner.
Why this recipe works
Chicken Parmesan is a classic Italian-American dish that is just perfect on its own. The combination of crispy breaded chicken, tangy marinara sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese is hard to resist. But I love making classics with a little extra twist and it couldn’t be different this time! So the real reason why this recipe stand out is the addition of Italian Gremolata – a mix of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest and juice – which adds a burst of fresh and zesty flavor to the dish.
What is Chicken Parmesan Pasta
Chicken parmesan pasta is a comforting and filling pasta dish that combines the flavors of classic chicken parmesan with spaghetti or linguine pasta. The chicken is breaded and pan-fried until crispy, then baked with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese until bubbly and golden. The cooked pasta is then served as a bed for the chicken. Finally, the dish is topped with a sprinkle of Italian Gremolata for a burst of freshness and colour.
Best ingredients for Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Chicken breasts: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are pounded to an even thickness to ensure they cook evenly.
- Flour, egg, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese: These ingredients are used to bread the chicken and give it a crispy, cheesy texture.
- Olive oil: Use extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Marinara sauce: Use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce or make your own for the best results.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese: Fresh mozzarella cheese melts beautifully and adds creaminess to the dish.
- Spaghetti or linguine pasta: These long and thin pasta shapes work best with the dish.
- Fresh parsley, garlic and lemon: These ingredients are used to make the Gremolata and add a burst of fresh flavor to the dish.
How to make Chicken Parmesan Pasta
Please note: This is just an overview – the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Prepare the chicken.
Butterfly the chicken breasts. Dip each chicken breast in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg, and finally coat it with the breadcrumb mixture. Cook chicken breast in a skillet until golden brown and cooked through on both sides.
Step 2: Assemble the Chicken Parmesan.
Spread about 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining marinara sauce over each chicken breast. Top each chicken breast with several slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Step 3: Cook the pasta.
While the chicken is baking, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and divide it between two serving bowls.
Step 4: Make the Gremolata.
In a small bowl, mix together the chopped parsley, minced garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and place a chicken breast on top of each pasta bowl. Sprinkle with gremolata and enjoy!
Storing and freezing tips
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating, be sure to cover the container with a lid or microwave-safe wrap to prevent any moisture from escaping.
While it is possible to freeze chicken parmesan pasta, it is not recommended as the texture and quality of the dish may suffer. The breading on the chicken and the pasta itself may become soggy and loose their texture when thawed and reheated. Therefore, it is best to enjoy this dish fresh and not freeze it for later use.
Top tips for the best Chicken Parmesan
- Use high-quality ingredients: To achieve the best flavor and texture, it is important to use high-quality ingredients, especially for chicken, cheese, and pasta.
- Pound the chicken breasts evenly: To ensure that the chicken breasts cook evenly and have a tender texture, it is important to pound them to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch.
- Coat the chicken evenly: Make sure to coat the chicken breasts evenly with the flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixture to ensure that each bite has a crispy and flavorful coating.
- Coat pasta in a leftover marinara sauce: While chicken parmesan served on plain cooked pasta will work perfectly, you can make good use of marinara sauce that is left on a baking dish after baking the chicken parmesan. Pop cooked spaghetti or linguine into a baking dish and swirl to coat in the sauce. Then transfer to serving bowls and top with chicken parmesan.
- Use fresh mozzarella cheese: Fresh mozzarella cheese has a softer texture and a creamier flavor than other types of mozzarella cheese, making it perfect for melting over chicken breasts.
- Add gremolata for a burst of freshness: The gremolata, made with fresh parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice, adds a burst of freshness to the dish, balancing the richness of the chicken and cheese.
- Serve immediately: Chicken parmesan pasta is best served immediately, while the cheese is still melted and gooey and the gremolata is fresh and fragrant.
What pasta is the best for chicken parmesan?
The best pasta to serve with chicken parmesan is spaghetti or linguine. These pasta shapes hold up well to the hearty tomato sauce and can also be easily twirled around a fork with the chicken.
Where is chicken parmesan from?
Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Parmigiana, is an Italian-American dish that originated in the United States. It is believed to have been created by Italian immigrants who adapted traditional Italian dishes to use ingredients more readily available in the United States.
What is the difference between Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Parmigiana?
The terms “chicken parmesan” and “chicken parmigiana” are often used to describe the same dish, which is breaded chicken topped with tomato sauce and cheese, then baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Can I use a different type of cheese?
While it’s possible to use different types of cheese in chicken parmesan, I don’t recommend straying too far from the traditional recipe. Fresh mozzarella has a mild flavor and creamy texture that pairs perfectly with the tangy tomato sauce and crispy chicken. Using a different type of cheese could alter the taste and texture of the dish, and may not provide the same delicious results that fresh mozzarella does. However, feel free to experiment and find the cheese that you enjoy the most in your chicken parmesan.
Polish version of this recipe available here.
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