I like to eat big. When I was a kid, just a skinny little thing, family and friends would marvel at the huge piles of pasta I would heap on my plate and top with meatballs. I mean, I would really pile it on – and at 10 I would pack away more of the dish than most adults. Italian food was a staple growing up and my mom taught me how to make my grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs, as well as other hearty meals like fresh pasta and home-made bread. Whatever I loved to eat, I would learn how to make it.
My home-made creations weren’t always perfect. I am still teased for the time I tried to make eggplant ravioli without a recipe when I was 16. It took 5 hours. When we finally sat down to eat at 10 pm, everyone was famished, but I had made some miscalculations. Each person got about three ravioli. They weren’t even good! That was when I learned that eggplant, while delicious, can be spongy and bland when not cooked properly. Eggplant ravioli was one recipe I never tried again.
Fortunately I didn’t mind the disasters. Maybe my family did, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to eat. A lot. When I found out I couldn’t eat pasta anymore, it was a major blow. Corn pasta was okay, but it didn’t taste the same. I ate a lot of bad substitutions when I first went gluten-free eight years ago. That’s why I was amazed at how good the Jovial Foods brown rice pasta is. It tastes like the real thing! The Jovial Brown Rice Pasta is some of the best gluten-free pasta I’ve had, and I love that you can get lots of shapes. Capellini, my favorite pasta shape as a kid, is perfect for this meal, and it’s a shape that’s hard to find GF.
It was finding good products like Jovial pasta that made me realize that gluten-free could be just as good. I started to experiment and realized that as long as I didn’t mind some trial and error, I could still make anything I wanted to eat. I started recording my recipes – and sometimes my disasters - on this blog, Gluten-free Gourmand. I did all my trouble-shooting for this recipe in creating one of my signature dishes: Eggplant Parmesan. You can see that vegetarian-friendly recipe here.
Thanks to my success making Eggplant Parmesan, my Chicken Parmesan was delicious the first time I tried making it, and it has been a staple meal in my household ever since. It seems like it would be daunting, but it’s actually very easy to make, and doesn’t take any particular kitchen know-how – just a little time and some good ingredients. The Jovial jarred tomatoes are fresh and tangy just like tomatoes from my garden. The sauce is a quick version of my Grandma’s sauce that I learned to make when I was young, so this recipe is like something my mom might have made for me as a kid – and that I would have eaten a lot of!
Gluten-free Chicken Parmesan
3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic (optional)
2 jars Jovial Diced Tomatoes
¾ tsp. salt (or to taste)
Basil or oregano to taste
Chicken Parmesan Ingredients:
4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or enough to coat the pan
¾ cup white rice flour
1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
4 slices mozzarella cheese
12 oz. Jovial Brown Rice Capellini
Heat Jovial Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large, shallow skillet (ovenproof if possible) on medium-low. Slice the shallots and sauté until browned. Chop the garlic and sauté until fragrant and beginning to turn golden. Pour one of the cans of diced tomatoes into the pan. Simmer the sauce to reduce the tomatoes to a paste, stirring often. Cook the chicken in the meantime. When the chicken is ready, stir the second jar of diced tomatoes into the sauce and add the salt and herbs. Stir and heat to a simmer.
Heat oven to 375.
On the stove, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet on medium heat. Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl.
Whisk the eggs in a second bowl.
Dip the first piece of chicken in the egg, coating it on all sides. Then coat it in the rice flour mixture. Dip in the egg again, coat with rice flour again and place in the heated oil to fry. Repeat the procedure with all four pieces of chicken.
Turn the chicken over when it is golden brown on the bottom and fry the second side. When the chicken pieces are well browned on both sides, set them aside on a paper towel.
When all pieces are cooked, finish preparing the sauce (the last step of the sauce recipe) and then place the chicken pieces on top of the sauce, either in the ovenproof skillet or in a casserole dish. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella. Bake the dish for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top.
While the chicken is baking, cook the capellini according to package directions while the chicken is in the oven.
Serve the chicken over the pasta with plenty of the sauce.