For the chicken:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup panko
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- Extra virgin olive oil for frying
For the sauce:
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
For the rest:
- 1 pound dry spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Set up your frying station: put the flour in one shallow dish, the eggs in a second and the panko, Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley, evenly combined, in a third. Dredge the chicken thighs in flour, shaking off excess, coat with the egg, then press into the seasoned panko.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom. When the oil is shimmering, add two or three pieces of the chicken and fry for about 4 minutes, or until the bottom is deep golden brown. Flip the chicken thighs over and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a lightly greased, foil lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Reduce heat to medium and pour off all but a tablespoon of oil from the skillet. Add the onions and saute for 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the red pepper flake and stir for about 10 seconds. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and add the basil, thyme, oregano and salt. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. After the sauce has simmered about 30 minutes, spoon a bit of the sauce over each piece of chicken.
Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven, sprinkle the top of each piece of chicken with shredded mozzarella cheese, then return to the oven for 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
In the meantime, bring a salted pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta a minute or two less than package directions, until barely al dente. Drain. Pour the pasta into the sauce and toss well.
Pile the dressed pasta on a plate and serve the finished chicken on top.
It’s a Panko Pork Chop + Spaghetti and Meatballs hybrid meal. Similar methods, similar ingredients. And absolutely the BEST chicken parmesan. For years, I made the chicken with fresh bread crumbs and yeah, it was good, but panko is just so magical – it sticks perfectly, it’s always crispy and crunchy – why not use it?