Chicken Marinara is a classic Italian dish that has been adored by many for its rich, hearty flavors and ease of preparation. This tantalizing combination of tender chicken, zesty marinara sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese is a truly satisfying meal that will transport you straight to the Italian countryside. Perfect for busy weeknights or a cozy date night, this easy and tasty Italian-style dinner is sure to impress.
Today, I will share my delicious Chicken Marinara recipe, complete with a detailed list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and some fascinating history and cultural curiosities about this mouthwatering dish.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
- Begin by preheating the oven to 375°F (190°C). Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, sugar, and red pepper flakes, if using. Allow the sauce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, until it has thickened slightly.
- Place the seasoned chicken breasts in a greased baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the top of the chicken, making sure they are completely covered. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the chicken and sauce.
- Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Garnish the Chicken Marinara with fresh basil leaves and serve immediately. Enjoy!
History and Curiosities
This delicious recipe is deeply rooted in Italian cuisine, with the star of the dish being the famous marinara sauce. Marinara, which means “sailor-style” in Italian, is said to have originated in Naples in the 16th century. Legend has it that the sauce was invented by the cooks of sailors who used basic ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and herbs to create a sauce that could be quickly prepared on ships.
The addition of chicken to the traditional sauce turns it into a fulfilling meal that has been widely enjoyed around the world. Chicken Marinara is quite adaptable- you can add a variety of vegetables, like bell peppers or mushrooms, to the sauce to suit your taste preferences.
Marinara sauce is also a staple in many other Italian dishes, such as pasta, pizza, and meatball subs. Chicken Marinara itself can now be found on countless restaurant menus across North America, Europe, and Australia, reflecting the international appeal of this classic Italian dish.
In conclusion, Chicken Marinara is a perfect recipe for anyone craving a taste of Italy, whether you’re dining à deux or feeding a crowd. The rich flavors, beautiful presentation, and fascinating history of this dish make it an ideal choice for your next dinner, offering a tantalizing taste of Italian cuisine right in the comfort of your kitchen!