3 c. tomato sauce, divided 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts Sea salt and black pepper 1 c. all-purpose flour 3 large eggs 1/3 c. water 1½ c. panko breadcrumbs 1 T. Italian seasoning 1¼ c. Parmesan cheese, fresh grated, divided 2 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided 6 oz. fresh Mozzarella, sliced 1 16-oz. box spaghetti
Optional, to serve: Fresh basil, chopped Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Place the top oven rack in the center position and pre-heat oven to 425ºF. Pour one cup of the tomato sauce into a 9”x13” baking dish and spread into an even layer across the bottom. Set aside.
Place chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until approximately ½” thick. Remove and discard top sheet of plastic wrap. Season with salt and black pepper, as desired, and set aside.
Pour the flour onto a shallow, rimmed plate and whisk the eggs and water together in a large, wide bowl. Set aside.
Add the breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and one-quarter cup Parmesan cheese to another shallow, rimmed plate. Season with salt and black pepper, as desired, and gently stir to combine. Set aside.
Bread each chicken breast by first lightly dredging in the flour and then coating in the egg wash. Gently shake off any excess flour or egg mixture before moving to the next step.
Press each breast into the bread crumb mixture until thoroughly coated on both sides. Once coated, place each breast onto a large plate and set aside. Repeat until all breasts are breaded.
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add half the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook until lightly browned on each side, approximately 4-5 minutes per side. Once browned, transfer the breasts to the baking dish and arrange in a single layer. Repeat this process with remaining olive oil and chicken.
Top the browned chicken breasts with the sliced Mozzarella and spread the remaining tomato sauce across the top in an even layer.
Sprinkle the remaining grated Parmesan cheese on top and place the baking dish into the pre-heated oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
While the chicken is baking, prepare the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside until ready to serve.
Remove baking dish from oven and cool for several minutes. Divide the spaghetti among individual serving plates and top each serving with a cheesy chicken breast and some sauce. To serve, sprinkle some fresh basil and/or Parmesan cheese on top, if desired. Enjoy!