Skillet Chicken Parm
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C), with a rack in the middle position. In a large high-sided sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper; add to the pan and cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Flip the pieces over and cook 1 minute more.Advertisement
Sprinkle the garlic around the chicken, followed by the pepper flakes and oregano. Pour the tomatoes evenly over the chicken, season with salt and pepper, then gently shake the pan to distribute the sauce (you can also do this with a small spoon). Top the chicken with the mozzarella and Parmesan (if using) to taste.
Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the chicken is just cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. (Brown it under the broiler, if you like.) Off the heat, top with the basil leaves (if using), tearing any large ones. Let the Parm rest for about 5 minutes before serving, and keep the pan's handle covered with an oven mitt; it's easy to forget it's hot. Serve with more Parmesan cheese, if you like.
Tips: Small chicken breasts work best here in terms of timing and the ratio of meat thickness to cheese and sauce. If you need to use larger ones, pound them between pieces of plastic wrap with a meat mallet or a small skillet to about 1/2-inch (12-mm) thickness.
For Staggered Serving: Serve hot or warm. We often keep the Parm at the back of the stove alongside a pot of spaghetti so plates can be made up as needed, but it will also keep, covered, in a 200 degrees F (90 degrees C) oven, for about 1 hour.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare the dish up through step 2 without turning on the oven, then refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking, uncovered. We prefer to do this rather than reheating the finished dish because chicken breasts dry out very easily. That said, you can reheat individual portions in a 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven or the microwave; just keep them covered and don't overdo it.
Photo: Maura McEvoy
5 lean-protein, 3 vegetable, 2 medium-fat protein, 1 1/2 fat