Basil grilled chicken parm

Serves 6

This has become a favorite around here, not that I don't adore a breaded crispy piece of chicken under cheese, but it really lets the ingredients shine.

The marinade is simple, bright and can be used for pork, chicken or shrimp. In this application the chicken should get at least 30 minutes to marinate but could go for the day and be even better.

The tomato sauce includes a little sugar, this is very southern Italian. I must admit though it came as an accident for me. I make a tomato jam, and needed sauce one day so added some wine and plain tomato sauce and discovered I loved it!

I can't repeat enough, just try things you'll be surprised how often it turns out to be something great!

This would work nicely on a veal cutlet as well, or over chicken cooked in a crockpot then shredded over pasta with fresh basil.

I like to do these in individual ramekins but its not a must, I just like each one to get it's own crispy little cheese melts around the edges.

Chicken marinade

6 thin sliced chicken breasts or 3 breast cut in half

1/4 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley

10-12 basil leaves

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp chopped garlic

3 TB olive oil

1 TB balsamic vinegar

Place all ingredients except the chicken in a blender or small Cuisinart and blend until herbs are all incorporated. Pour over chicken and let marinade. Bring to room temp 30 minutes prior to grilling or pan searing. Grill or pan sear prior to assembling the dish. Both the chicken and the sauce could be made a day ahead and assembled for ease of entertaining. Just let come to room temp prior to putting in the oven.

Tomato Sauce

2 TB olive oil

2 18oz containers of fresh

cherry tomatoes

1 heaping tsp dried Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp red chili flakes

1/4 sugar (this could be Splenda if you're watching your sugar it works beautifully)

1/2 cup red wine (I like a cabernet, just use something you would drink because the flavor gets stronger with cooking)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 15 oz can of tomatoe sauce (my favorite tomato products are Muir Glen)

Items to complete dish

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

drizzle of good olive oil

Start a sauce pan on med/high heat with the olive oil and let it heat up a minute or so. The idea here is you want to blister the tomatoes when they go in the pan. Pour in your whole cherry tomatoes, they should be popping and sizzling! Leave them be to blister and pop open giving them a stir every 3 minutes or so. Once most of them have opened and released their juice add the sugar and let cook for 3 min. Now add in your wine, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, salt, pepper, garlic and tomato sauce. stir to combine lower heat to med/low and let go stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. This can be made a day ahead for ease if you're entertaining. Left overs make a great pizza sauce as well.

To assemble place a 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of ramekins (if you don't have ramekins just use a baking dish and put them all in one dish use 1/4 cup per breast) lay a grilled chicken breast on top of sauce then top with 1/4 cup cheese.

Place in a 400 degree oven for about 10 min until the cheese is bubbly and just beginning to brown on the edges. Top with fresh basil and a drizzle of good olive oil.

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