While chicken breast is undoubtedly an easy, quick and uncontroversial option for dinner, I find it often to be quite disappointing: a little bland, usually dry and just a bit boring. Except when cooked this way: the meat is browned, then lightly poached in rich tomato sauce so it stays exquisitely tender, and each piece comes enrobed in a blanket of melting mozzarella cheese. Absolutely essential with this is some crusty bread for wiping up all the juices on your plate. And depending on your mood, you might also want a light salad or a few greens.
HANDS ON TIME: 20 minutes | SERVES 4
2 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
scant 2 cups good-quality tomato sauce
2–3 tbsp capers
leaves from a small bunch of basil, chopped
8oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan that has a lid; you want a pan that is large enough to fit the 4 chicken breasts. Brown the meat on both sides over a medium heat, then take the pan off the heat. Take the breasts out of the pan, set on a plate and season them generously with salt and pepper.
Put the tomato sauce in the frying pan while the pan is still off the heat, so the difference in temperature between sauce and hot pan doesn’t cause the sauce to spit, then put the pan back over the heat to warm through. Add the capers and basil. When the tomato begins to bubble, nestle the seasoned chicken in the pan.
Cook the chicken in the pan over a medium heat for 7–8 minutes, turning the breasts every now and then, until cooked through.
Lay a slice or 2 of mozzarella over each piece of chicken and cover the pan with its lid, or, if you don’t have a lid big enough, you can cover the pan with foil. Cook for a further minute or 2, until the cheese is melted.
Excerpted from: “A Table Full of Love: Recipes to Comfort, Seduce, Celebrate & Everything Else In Between” copyright Skye McAlpine, 2023. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury.
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