I didn’t want to cook tonight. I had gone on an interview, cleaned the house, plugged away on the computer, hit the grocer, enjoyed the Florentine sunshine… and it was just ‘one of those nights.’
I am finding my rhythm includes one night a week where I like to pull a kitchen trump card. As in: tonight I want off. And here in Florence that usually means ‘lets get pizza.’ This is a great city—a great country—for ‘getting pizza.’ It goes without saying.
We have a favorite restaurant on our street in Florence: our go-to place for pizza night in (Francescovini). Though for the record, the restaurant has a nice ambiance—especially the deeper in you go—and is worth a sit down meal if you are so inclined. (What can I say? It is on our block, so the temptation to hunker down and play cards or watch soccer ‘in’ is compelling). We have tried the boar sauce (homey) and almost all of the pizzas. Our favorite pizzas are the pepperoni and the one with arugula and prosciutto. When it comes in our door, we top it with just-grated Parmesan cheese and pour the table wine (or sangria). It hits the spot every time.
The problem is, of course, that this particular night our pizzeria was closed. And with a fridge that was on the slimmer side of proteins, I needed a go-to meal that would feel like non-cooking. We were walking about, saw an open butcher and purchased a few chicken breasts. Three ingredients [and two quick sides] later, dinner was served.
I have made this dish multiple times in the last few weeks, usually after a long day of errands or touring. When what I really want is a glass of red wine, Anthony’s big slippers (he graciously lets me borrow his) and some down time (watching CSI or Friends with the boys, playing cards, reading a book, browsing Facebook… these all qualify). So I grab mayonnaise, Parmesan and the nearest container of Italian herbs. Mix, spread and bake. While the chicken is in the oven, I saute some potatoes and other vegetables and we have a meal. Thank goodness for the Italian ice cream novelties in our freezer: the perfect end to a family night in.
1/3 cup mayo (by the way, if you are lucky, you have some homemade mayonnaise tucked away in the fridge)
1/3 cup Parmesan (grated)
2 tsp Italian Herbs (feel free to hit the herbs with a few grinds of kosher salt and coarse pepper)
4 breasts of chicken (as is or pounded slightly for uniform thickness. You are not going for thin chicken, just lean on the thickest parts a bit, so they cook evenly)
Oven to 375. Blend mayo, Parm and herbs. Place breasts in baking dish, spread top evening over chicken breasts. Pop into oven and cook approximately 25 minutes until top just starts to brown and chicken internal temp registers 165 F.
- Find more easy to make, family favorites under the category default dinners.
- Here is another easy chicken recipe.
- Instead of sauteing vegetables, roast them, so they all go into the oven at once and you can put your feet up sooner. I regularly roast carrots, potatoes, brussel sprouts, fennel and broccoli.