Crispy Parmigiano-Crusted Chicken on Summer Lemon Pasta
- 4 chicken cutlets
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups grated or shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound thick whole wheat spaghetti
- 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 cup Italian parsley (about 2 handfuls), chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 box frozen quartered artichoke hearts (9 ounces), defrosted
- 1 bunch baby spinach
- Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil for the pasta.
- While the pasta water is coming up to a boil, pound out your chicken cutlets a little bit: place one of them into a large sealable plastic bag with a small amount of water. Seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as you can. Pound the chicken using a small cast iron skillet until it’s evenly thinned out. Reserve the finished pieces on a plate as you finish the rest.
- With all of your chicken pounded out, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. While that’s heating up, set up two dishes on the counter. Fill one with the egg whites and the other with about a cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Season the chicken cutlets on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then dip them first in the egg whites and then in the grated cheese.
- Once all of your cutlets are coated, cook them in the hot pan until golden brown and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. As soon as you start cooking your chicken cutlets, add your pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook to al dente, according to the package directions. Just before draining the pasta, take a scoop (about 1 cup) of the starchy cooking water out and save it to make your sauce. When the chicken cutlets are finished, reserve them to a plate while your veggies are cooking (see next step).
- Place another large skillet over medium-high heat with one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Toss the scallions, garlic and parsley into the pan and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest and juice, artichoke hearts, remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and your scoop of starchy pasta water. Add a little salt and freshly ground pepper to your pan of veggies and cook for about 1 minute to heat everything through.
- While the veggies and sauce are coming up to a bubble, drain your pasta and toss it into the pan with the veggies to heat up along with them. Just before you’re ready to serve, toss the spinach in the pan and give it a light toss to coat – you don’t need to worry about "cooking" this too much, the heat from everything in the pan will wilt the spinach perfectly.
- Once everything’s heated through, divide the pasta mixture between four plates and top each portion with a crispy crusted chicken cutlet.