1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled, then smashed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 (28-ounce) cans good-quality whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
6 fresh basil leaves
Classic Chicken Cutlets:
2 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups fine dried breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Classic Chicken Cutlets (recipe above)
1½ cups 40-Minute Red Sauce (recipe above)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, slowly heat the garlic and oil over medium-low heat. Cook slowly, being very careful not to brown the garlic, until the smashed cloves are soft and pungent, about 8 minutes. You should watch the garlic for the entire duration, as it can burn quickly. Toss the pepper flakes at the very end.
Add the tomatoes and 2 teaspoons salt, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, sitting frequently and mashing the tomatoes to break them up as they cook, until 1/4 of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce begins to thicken, the color darkens and the oil begins to float and separate, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the basil and adjust the seasoning with salt, as needed. Use immediately or let cool and then store until needed. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Butterfly each breast, slicing horizontally through the breast and stopping short to leave the opposite side intact. Open one breast up flat, place on a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper, top with a second sheet of oiled parchment, oiled side down, and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until uniformly thin. Repeat with the second breast. Cut each pounded breast into two evenly sized pieces (your cutlets) and season each cutlet with a pinch of salt.
Prepare a breading station. Set out three shallow bowls. Pour the flour into the first. Crack the eggs into the second, add a few tablespoons water and give them a whisk. Spread the breadcrumbs out in the third. Working in stages, and with one piece at a time, dip the chicken into the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat the breast completely at each stage, pressing down firmly, and shaking off the excess before moving onto the next coating. As the cutlets are coated, set them aside, not touching, on a large plate.
To cook the cutlets, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is just beginning to smoke, gently lower 2 cutlets into the pan and cook until golden-brown on the first side, about 3 minutes. Then flip the cutlets and continue cooking until crispy golden-brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes. You can hold the cooked cutlets on a sheet pan lined with paper towels in a low oven. Repeat the process with the remaining cutlets and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Place the chicken cutlets in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cover them with the tomato sauce, then arrange the mozzarella slices over them, covering them entirely.
Bake until the sauce is bubbling hot and the cheese begins to brown, about 20 minutes.
Let rest for 10 minutes, then scatter the Parmesan over the top before serving.