Chicken Milanese with Pesto Pasta
This is a recipe I make over and over again. Crispy chicken cutlets topped with an arugula, parmesan salad tossed with lemon vinaigrette and served with a homemade pesto pasta. Guaranteed to become a weekly favorite dinner in your house. Plus, every part of this recipe can be made ahead so its perfect for meal prepping. Pesto can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for at least 1 month. The vinaigrette can be made 1 week in advance and held in the refrigerator. The chicken cutlets can be frozen before or after cooking them and held for at least 1 month. Fry from frozen and finish cooking the chicken through in a 400 degree oven or reheat cooked cutlets in a 300 degree oven.
Your Time: 40 minutes
For the chicken cutlets and argulula salad:
4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, about ¼-inch thick
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
3/4 cups panko
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups arugula
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
Pesto pasta, to serve (recipe below)
For the pesto pasta:
3 cups lightly packed basil
1/4 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to garnish
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste and to season pasta water
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
To make the chicken Milanese:
Lay the chicken cutlets on a clean cutting board and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the cutlets with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Lay out three shallow baking dishes or plates. In the first, whisk together the cornstarch with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. In the second dish, whisk together the eggs with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. In the third dish, whisk together the panko, Italian seasoning, grated parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Dip each cutlet in the cornstarch, dusting off any excess before dipping in the egg, and again allowing excess to drip off. Finally dip the cutlets into the panko. Make sure to pack the panko into both sides of the cutlet to make sure it adheres tightly. Place the breaded cutlets on a sheet tray or plate and refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes or up to overnight.
Next, assemble the salad dressing. Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and honey. Drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil, whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
In a large cast iron pan over medium heat add the remaining olive oil. When you begin to see ripples in the oil dip an edge of a cutlet in, if the oil bubbles around the cutlet carefully place the cutlet in the oil. Add as many cutlets as will fit in a single layer; if needed cook in two batches. Cook the chicken about 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray and season with salt immediately.
To serve, add the arugula to a large bowl, season the greens with salt, tossing to combine. Next add in the dressing to taste and toss to combine. Serve a chicken cutlet with the arugula salad over top and the pesto pasta on the side. Garnish the salad with freshly shaved parmesan.
To make the pesto pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Toast the walnuts lightly in a small sauté pan over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring often or in a 425 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Let cool.
In a food processor add the basil, toasted walnuts, garlic and lemon juice. Pulse until the ingredients have broken down into small pieces, no bigger than the size of a pea. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue to run the processor until the olive oil is evenly incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the grated parmesan, salt and pepper. Pulse a few more times or until the parmesan is evenly combined. Remove from the bowl and adjust seasoning to taste. Remove the pesto to a bowl if using immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can also freeze the pesto for up to 1 month.
Add the pasta to the boiling water, stirring to break the pasta up, and cook until al dente, usually about 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before straining the cooked pasta. Add the pasta to the bowl with the pesto and toss to combine, adding pasta liquid ¼ cup at a time or until the desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately with more parmesan to garnish.