Easy Peasy Parmigiana Caprese

Easy Peasy Parmigiana Caprese

My favorite week of the year is finally here….it is time for Chicago Gourmet!!!!  For those of you who are new readers, Chicago Gourmet is an annual food event set in Millennium Park.  To call it a “food event” is an injustice, it is a weekend filled with celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, book signings, lots of wine/spirit tastings and, of course, there is the food from Chicago’s best restaurants.  (And yes, I’ll take plenty of notes for those of you who write asking for recommendations.)

Every year I’ve gone, the event has gotten better and better and I can only imagine what they have planned to surprise their guests on their 10th birthday!!!  (One of the new things this year is the “eXtraordinary Chefs-eXtraordinary Places” which are 10 parties in unique, iconic locations like Wrigley Field and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House.)

I truly look forward to watching all the events unfold on the internet and news stations but obviously, I can’t wait to taste the food and watch the demonstrations this weekend.  (And chef stalking……chef stalking is a must as long as I’m not creepy about it.)

As much as I learn about which restaurants I want to visit in the city, I get a sneak peek of food trends and ways to elevate my own cooking.  The chefs I have met in the past years are always willing to share their “secrets” because we all have one thing in common…..we love food.

I know I will write a lot about it next week but I’m going into the weekend with the goal to learn 10 new ways of making food we all love so I can in turn share it on Felt Like a Foodie.

With that said, I don’t want people to be afraid that I’m going to try too many dishes that may be unapproachable.  I am excited to see what inspires others.  The cool thing about the chefs I get to talk to is that they know how to be innovative with their dishes while using what is available for the season.

I tried to channel my inner home chef last week when I was making dinner.  I had a couple criteria I was trying to follow.  First, I wanted chicken…. because it was thawed out.  Second, it had to use up some tomatoes.  (The tomato-geddon garden is still producing multiple pounds of fruit a week.)  And finally, it had to be comfort food.  (Because there are weeks I need my food to sooth my soul.)

My goal was a lighter chicken parmigiana (tomato sauce, mozzarella) but with a Caprese (fresh tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil) flair.  It needed to be relatively simple to make but I wanted the flavors to make your mouth say WOW.  (I guess that makes no sense….what other part of your body says WOW other than your mouth?)

The resulting dish that I’ll describe in detail below just made me proud.  It was delicious and really flavorful. It made me even more excited about learning this next week (because who am I kidding, this was not a rocket science recipe….but it sure did showcase the end of summer flavors.)

I’m looking forward to sharing the event with all of you and hope we all can learn something new together.

Easy Peasy Parmigiana Caprese

(Printable recipe below)

Ingredients

1 pint grape tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

4 chicken breasts

Salt/pepper/Italian seasoning

4 ounces pesto (homemade or store bought)

2 good tomatoes (like Rutgers or something Heirloomy)

16 ounce Fresh mozzarella (I ate about a third of it while I was cooking)

Olive Oil

Directions

I started with a sheet pan of grape tomatoes tossed in olive oil with 4 cloves of garlic.  I roasted them for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

While those were cooking, I seasoned my chicken breasts (skinless/boneless) with a little salt and Italian seasoning.

I seared them in olive oil over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.  (No this will not cook them all the way but they will finish in the oven so don’t panic.)

I also made a quick batch of basic pesto.  (If you don’t have a garden full of basil, I would just purchase a good quality jarred pesto at the store)

When the grape tomatoes are done roasting, pulse them up  with the garlic in the food processor (or a rough chop with your knife will do just fine)

Lower oven temperature to 375. 

Finally, it is time to put it together in the pan.

In a 3 quart baking dish, spread the roasted grape tomatoes on the bottom of the dish.

Place the seared chicken breasts on top of the tomatoes.

Spread your pesto all over the top of the chicken breasts.

Add fresh tomato slices on top of the pesto and finally top with thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.

Place this dish in the oven for about 20 minutes.  (If your cheese doesn’t get brown and bubbly enough for your tastes, give it a minute or two under the broiler.)

I served mine over linguine that was tossed with a little butter and parmigiana.

Easy-Peasy Chicken Caprese
 
It isn't really a chicken parm but it isn't really a caprese....and we are okay with that.
Ingredients
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • Salt/pepper/Italian seasoning
  • 4 ounces pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 good tomatoes (like Rutgers or something Heirloomy)
  • 16 ounce Fresh mozzarella (I ate about a third of it while I was cooking)
  • Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. I started with a sheet pan of grape tomatoes tossed in olive oil with 4 cloves of garlic. I roasted them for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
  2. While those were cooking, I seasoned my chicken breasts (skinless/boneless) with a little salt and Italian seasoning.
  3. I seared them in olive oil over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes per side. (No this will not cook them all the way but they will finish in the oven so don’t panic.)
  4. I also made a quick batch of basic pesto. (If you don’t have a garden full of basil, I would just purchase a good quality jarred pesto at the store)
  5. When the grape tomatoes are done roasting, plus them up with the garlic in the food processor.
  6. Lower oven temperature to 375.
  7. Finally, it is time to put it together in the pan.
  8. In a 3 quart baking dish, spread the roasted grape tomatoes on the bottom of the dish.
  9. Place the seared chicken breasts on top of the tomatoes.
  10. Spread your pesto all over the top of the chicken breasts.
  11. Add fresh tomato slices on top of the pesto and finally top with thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.
  12. Place this dish in the oven for about 20 minutes. (If your cheese doesn’t get brown and bubbly enough for your tastes, give it a minute or two under the broiler.)
  13. I served mine over linguine that was tossed with a little butter and parmigiana.

 

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