A variation on eggplant Parmesan, chicken Parmesan is a breaded patty of breast meat fried in oil and covered with a rich tomato sauce. The origins of the name remain unclear even among food scholars. Some claim the identifier, "parmigiana" derives from Parmesan cheese used in the dish. Others contend that the meal originated in Parma, Italy. Regardless, chicken Parmesan makes for a terrific meal along with a few choice side dishes.
Chicken Parmesan is typically served with spaghetti, but several variations of pasta can be easily prepared instead. Try serving angel hair, bow ties or macaroni, or use fresh pasta as an alternative to dry. Because chicken Parmesan is already slightly heavy, it is best to stay away from stuffed pastas such as raviolis and tortellini.
If pasta isn't appealing, try serving wild rice with herbs instead. Also, instead of smothering everything on the plate in red sauce, try a pesto or a light tossing of butter or olive oil and herbs as the accompanying sauce.
Due to the amount of bread already showing up in the pasta and on the chicken, a good salad is in order to balance the palate and to help with digestion of this relatively heavy meal. A classic Caesar salad with romaine lettuce makes a good complement, but any fresh green salad would also go well. Keep the toppings light and limited to just one or two ingredients, such as grated beets and carrots. If choosing a salad other than Caesar, serve with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Sautéed or Roasted Vegetables
To counteract the effect of the breading, lightly cooked vegetables make a balanced meal and adds a colourful presentation. Choose classic Mediterranean vegetables like zucchini, squash, asparagus or artichokes. Sauté or roast the vegetables lightly, and sprinkle basil or oregano on them before serving. If you choose to add one-quarter or one-half of artichokes to the plate, then serve with a lemon butter sauce for dipping.
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