Parmesan coated chicken breasts are baked in a tomato and basil sauce covered with mozzarella. They are served with tagliatelle tossed in chopped parsley and garlic butter and sautéed courgettes/zucchini.
400g tin (½ x 28 fl oz can) chopped/diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp fresh basil, shredded
salt and pepper
For the chicken
28g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated (¼ cup)
28g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
1 egg, beaten
28g (1 oz) butter
4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned
8 thin slices mozzarella cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil sprigs to garnish
For the tagliatelle
8 tagliatelle nests
28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
1 garlic clove, crushed
2–3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf/Italian parsley, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
An ovenproof dish large enough to take the four chicken breasts in a single layer
Preheat the oven to 200C/400°F/gas mark 6
For the parmigiana
For the tomato sauce
Put the olive oil and garlic into a pan over a medium-low heat and, as soon as the oil starts to sizzle, stir in the tomatoes and tomato purée. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to thicken a little. Add the shredded basil leaves and season.
For the chicken
Meanwhile, measure the flour into a plastic bag and season. Then add the grated Parmesan and shake to mix. Spread out onto a large plate.
Tip the egg into a shallow dish.
Turn the chicken pieces in the egg, shaking off any excess egg while lifting them from the dish. Then coat with the flour and cheese mixture.
Melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet and add the chicken pieces to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side until they are light golden in colour. Transfer to the ovenproof dish and pour the tomato sauce around the chicken.
Lay two slices of mozzarella on top of each chicken breast then sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan.
Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned.
For the tagliatelle
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook for the length of time suggested on your packet.
While it is cooking, mix the butter with the garlic and chopped parsley.
Drain the tagliatelle, return it to the pan with the parsley butter and toss together.
For the courgettes/zucchini
Cut the courgettes/zucchini into 1.25cm (½ inch) slices.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the the courgettes and toss in the oil. Sauté for 3–5 minutes, turning frequently until cooked through.
Lift the chicken breasts from the pan onto four serving plates and spoon the tomato sauce around. Garnish the chicken with the basil sprigs. Serve with the tagliatelle and courgettes/zucchini.
These tasty little shepherd’s pies are made in a small gratin dish and are quick to prepare. The lamb is mixed with beans and a minted tomato sauce, and then covered with a creamy mash potato and topped with cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4
Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice, simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for one minute. Carefully, remove from the water and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.
Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.
Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. It will not be fully cooked at this point. Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and sprinkle the wine over the fish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange over the fish.
Melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet add the onion and garlic, and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping golden brown.
Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.
With local tomatoes now in abundance, this is an ideal time to make a pot of summer tomato soup. This recipe produces a thin, flavoursome soup with just a hint of basil. Just right for a light lunch with some crusty bread.
1 x 400g tin (½ x 796ml/28 fl oz can) chopped tomatoes/diced tomatoes
1.8 litres (3 pints) good chicken stock (7½ cups)
85g (3 oz) spaghetti
400g tin (540ml/19 fl oz can) cannellini beans/white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
140g (5 oz) frozen peas (1 cup)
fresh basil to garnish
Peel the vegetables and dice into small pieces, about 0.5cm (¼ inch). Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, uncovered, over a medium–low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then stir in the tomatoes and stock, and bring up to a simmer. Break the spaghetti into small pieces and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Finally, add the beans and peas, and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Serve garnished with basil leaves and accompany with crusty bread or rolls.
575g (1lb 4 oz) sirloin or rump steak, fat removed
4 tbsp medium-dry sherry
6 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
225g (8 oz) button mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
For the rice
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
200g (7 oz) brown rice (1 cup)
475 ml (15 fl oz) chicken stock (2 cups)
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 medium tomatoes
Pour the sherry and soy sauce into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.
Cut the steak into 1.25cm (½ inch) slices and add to the bowl. Turn the steak to coat, then cover the bowl, refrigerate, and leave to marinade for at least an hour.
Remove the bowl from the fridge just before preparing the rice to enable the steak to come to room temperature.
For the rice
Put the onion, rice, stock and cumin seeds into a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 35–40 minutes until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.
When it is cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes while cooking the steak and vegetables.
For the steak
First, cut the tomatoes in half and then each half into thirds.
Drain the meat, reserving the marinade.
Blend the cornflour/cornstarch into the marinade and set to one side.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the steak and stir fry for 2–3 minutes, turning frequently, until lightly browned.
Add the mushrooms and stir fry for a further minute.
Add the tomatoes and stir in the reserved marinade. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 1 minute.
Divide the rice between four plates, spooning it around the edge of each plate to form a circle. Now divide the steak and vegetables into four portions placing each in the centre of the rice and spoon over any sauce remaining in the pan.
Serve immediately, garnished with a little parsley.
Simple to prepare, this tasty pasta dish gets cooked in one pan in just under 30 minutes. Lamb is cooked in a red wine, tomato and thyme sauce with farfalle (bow-tie pasta). Great served with a leafy salad, and crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Cacciatore) and this one I call Chicken Hunter’s Style. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.
Chicken Hunter’s Style – breasts of chicken are cooked with diced bacon and onions, sliced mushrooms and plum tomatoes in a seasoned tomato sauce.
I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Hunter’s Style) and this one is called Chicken Cacciatore. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.
Chicken is sautéed and then cooked with chopped onions, sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes in a seasoned sauce. Rocket/arugula is then stirred through before serving.
seasonal vegetables or crusty bread to mop up the juices
deep sided sauté pan
Heat half the oil in the pan over a medium–high heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the onion and mushrooms for 8 minutes, until beginning to soften.
Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf and chicken stock, then return the chicken to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the bay leaf, then season well and stir through the rocket/arugula.