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Attention lovers, food lovers, paleo food lovers, and cooking with red wine lovers.
Looking for a romantic meal for tomorrow night? Want to avoid the restaurant mania? Want to not feel bloated and unsexy?
For Valentine #2, I present you the gift of Paleo Chicken Parm.
I’ve been stewing on this one for a while. I had a realization that I eat a LOT of Italian food, but have yet to post a recipe.
Although, as I’m sure you can imagine, I can’t rightly call this dish “paleo” if it contains Parmesan cheese … so it does not. I kept the name for reference.
To me, Italian is classic romance food. This could be explained by the fact that the classic 50’s Disney movie, Lady and the Tramp, served as 80% of my childhood entertainment. It was on a constant cycle of play, rewind, play again … and again, and again … oh, and again.
“This is the night … what a beautiful night … and they call it bella notte.”
Lady and the Tramp accidently kiss over a noodle. He sweetly noses her the last meatball. She bats her eyes and you’re sure they’re in love.
Oh puppy love.
The way I’ve solved the riddle of Italian food (noodles) turned paleo is with a very simple fix: zucchini ribbons. They’re light, filling, and when tossed in warm sauce are totally satisfying.
Homemade marinara sauce is just plain sexy. Layers of savory flavors amplified by a splash of red wine.
This recipe includes instructions for making your own sauce-ready tomatoes. If you want to avoid these steps, canned tomatoes work just fine. If you opt for canned, make sure you buy San Marzano whole peeled. They’re the best.
As the flavors develop in the sauce, I recommend you spoon out and let your date taste test as you go. Add more/less seasonings to each of your liking. Cooking together like that is fun and romantic.
I opted for a dependable bottle of Chianti for the sauce & sipping with the meal. I always try to cook with the same wine I plan to drink …unless we’re whipping out something extra special.
DaVinci is under $15, an authentic Italian Chianti (reference the pink tape all genuine Chianti’s will have), and really delicious. It also happens to be the very first bottle of wine opened on my 21st birthday. I still have the cork.
If you want to keep this recipe strict paleo, you can leave out the wine.
The chicken is … dreamy. I butterflied chicken breasts to allow for smaller portions, double battered in a savory seasoned almond meal, and then baked to a nice crisp.
The whole dish together is just divine. I hope you enjoy every bit of making and eating it.
- 2 Chicken Breast Halves Butterflied
- 1 ½ cups Almond Meal
- 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 2 teaspoons Black Pepper
- 2 Eggs
- Paleo Marinara
- 6 Medium Tomatoes or 1 Can Whole Peeled San Marzano
- ½ cup Chopped Yellow Onions
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil EVOO
- 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt add more if you need it
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ cup Red Wine
- 5 Large Fresh Basil Leaves Minced
- Zucchini Ribbons
- 2 Large Zucchinis or 4 Small
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Using a very sharp knife cut each breast into half long ways. Slice the breasts to allow for even thickness throughout the cut.
- In a wide rim plate (i.e. pie dish), beat two eggs together.
- Mix the almond meal, seasoning, salt, and pepper together and lay out on a plate.
- Dip each piece of chicken in the egg wash first (both sides), then the dry batter (both sides, then repeat. This will allow for a nice thick crust.
- Lay the battered chicken on the baking sheet and bake at 375 F for ~35 minutes. Add more time if they don’t look crispy.
- Let them cool for at least 5 minutes before you plate. Don’t fret if the bottom part of the batter sticks to the foil. Do your best to scrape it up with the chicken.
- If you want to avoid crispy batter stuck to the pan, you can bake them on a wire rack like I did on these chicken fingers.
- #1, prepping the tomatoes: (if you’re using canned, skip to #2)
- Fill a large pot halfway up with water and bring to a light boil.
- Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl ½ full with ice and some water.
- Gently score an “X” on the bottom of each tomato.
- Using a large slotted spoon, dip the tomatoes into the boiling water.
- Boil for about 30 seconds then quickly remove and place in the ice bath.
- Let them cool completely.
- Dry then peel (skin should come off easily).
- Cut in half, spoon out all seeds, and roughly chop.
- Phew! That’ was easy, wasn’t it?
#2, the sauce:
- You can dry out and use the same pot from above.
- Heat the EVOO in the pan.
- Add the chopped onions and stir until they’ve browned.
- Add the minced garlic and stir.
- Add the tomatoes and stir until they’ve slightly broken-down.
- Add the seasoning, salt, pepper, and stir for a minute.
- Add the wine and let it simmer for a few minutes.
- When the flavor is to your liking, you can either serve it chunky or put it in a blender for a smooth texture.
- Using a horizontal peeler (important if you want this to be easy), start peeling your ribbons off the zucchini. I will peel on four spots – leaving me with a long 3d rectangle. I recommend you stop peeling once you get to the seeds.
- When you’re ready to server, lightly toss the ribbons in the finished marinara sauce. This will heat and flavor the “noodles.”
- Lay one or two pieces of chicken on top of the noodles and top with more sauce.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil.
- Pour yourself a big ol’ glass of the red wine you chose, cheers, and enjoy.