Don Tano Bongiorno’s slightly Sicilian twist on chicken with mozzarella

Chicken is, and always has been, a popular nutritious dish. There are as many ways to prepare a delicious chicken dinner as there are countries with their different recipes and tastes.

Today, I will share with you a chicken recipe that my mom used to make for us when we were little. Today he smiles at us from heaven knowing that he did a good job. None of us turned out to be a criminal and none of us got involved with the mob. Also, I always assure worried Palermo tourists that gangsters no longer carry submachine guns. They carry briefcases full of hundred dollar bills and buy what they want instead of killing people for it.

Where was it? Oh yeah, my mom’s chicken recipe: chicken with mozzarella.

Okay, first pick up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If you have large dining rooms, you may want to consider one and a half per person, or maybe even two, and unless you have your own vegetable garden at home, you should pick up some fresh basil leaves. (Hey, if it doesn’t have basil, it’s not Italian. What can I say?) And last but not least, a small block of mozzarella cheese. You could get the slices, but that’s not as good as I’ll show you.

Now, on a clean cutting board, place the chicken breasts, smooth side up, and cut several slots horizontally across the top, about a half inch deep.

Turn that oven on to about 400 degrees.

You can line a pan with aluminum foil, if not, at least spray it with nonstick spray. Spread out the chicken breasts and insert a basil leaf into each open cut, half a slice of fresh tomato (Roma is great, but any tomato will do). Add a nice thick slice of mozzarella cheese. And as a final touch, slide in a thin slice of fresh garlic.

Now brush or gently drizzle a thin layer of olive oil over the chicken. Some people like what they call Italian seasonings, but I prefer just salt, pepper, a little sugar, and maybe a touch of oregano.

Marsala (pretty much the national drink of Sicily!) Goes great with this, but don’t drink the entire bottle because you could burn your chicken.

After about twenty minutes, you should check the chicken. I use one of those metal skewers that you taste cakes with. If it comes out clean, your chicken is done. Otherwise, at that point you can turn off the oven and let the chicken sit inside for another ten to fifteen minutes.

While this is going on, you can boil any pasta option: spaghetti, rigatoni, mostaccioli, or maybe good elbow macaroni. The kids love it and I bet Daddy loves it too.

For a nice sauce, toss a handful of lightly minced garlic into a skillet with olive oil, and while it gets piping hot, add some sliced ​​onion, celery, and green peppers. Once it looks pretty much done, add a little broth or, if not available, use some powdered meat or powdered chicken or tomato broth with a cup of water per teaspoon. Not too much. Just what you think you will need for the family.

Once it’s boiled for a few minutes, strain, add a can of tomato paste and maybe a can of diced tomatoes, and boil again for a few minutes.

Served with a green salad and freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table, you have a great dinner and the family will think you really love them, even if it’s routine to cook them.


1. Chicken Tano

  • One or 1-1 / 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts per person

  • 450 g mozzarella cheese

  • Two / three fresh Roma tomatoes

  • Three or four cloves of fresh garlic

  • Olive oil

  • A quarter pound of fresh basil leaves

2. Pasta

Pasta of choice according to package directions for quantities.

3. Sauce

A pint of broth (canned broth, beef, chicken, or tomato is fine).

Bring to a boil and add:

  • chopped celery

  • chopped onion

  • chopped peppers

  • finely chopped fresh basil (using leftover chicken filling

  • a small can of tomato paste

  • a can of diced tomatoes

The sauce should be simmered until slightly thickened.

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