I think that chicken Modena beats out meatloaf in Michael’s’ favorites category and I can’t say that I would dispute that and since I have been making the particular dish since the 70’s I no longer measure a thing and over the years not much has changed except that I make better bread crumbs for the chicken and out of laziness once in a while I buy the thin cutlets instead of prepping boneless chicken breast, but I find that I don’t like the thin cutlets as much as the ones that I prepare, perhaps they are too thin…
I finished off a bag of spinach and kale for a cheesy crispy crumb topped gratin and made Marcella’s butter and onion sauce for a small side of spaghetti. Of course frozen spinach and kale are available, but fresh is what I had, blanched, squeezed dry and chopped. A simple sauce of onions, butter, a bit of flour, pinches of nutmeg, milk, heavy cream and a two cheeses folded into the chopped spinach and kale, topped off with more cheese and bread crumbs and backed in a 350º oven for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Since I don’t measure things often, I suggest a good recipe from Ina Garten is a good source for the gratin…link below.
The brilliant onion and butter sauce from The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking made with a few simple ingredients simmered for about 40-45 minutes is perfect for a quick week night sauce for any kind of pasta and great for a full pasta dinner or a nice side of pasta with anything else.
Tomato, Onion and Butter Sauce – slightly adapted from Marcella Hazan
28 ounces canned whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
*Optional fresh basil leaves
*Optional cheese rind to add to the simmering sauce…so much good flavor added
Salt to taste
Put the tomatoes, onion, butter, and basil and cheese rind if using in a saucepan large enough to hold all of the ingredients with room to spare as the sauce might splatter a bit, cook over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, remove the onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.