How do you make 3 meals in one? By incorporating chicken and eggplant Parmesan into a thick, hearty lasagna.
10 to 12 Servings
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
8 large eggs
4 cups Italian breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
1 large Italian globe eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (12 to 16 slices)
4 cups store-bought tomato sauce
14 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 pound grated 4-cheese blend (mozzarella, provolone, Asiago, fontina)
1/2 cup small basil leaves
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and set an oven rack in the middle position.
In a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat, add 1 cup of oil.
Prepare a breading station: In a large, shallow mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. In a separate large, shallow mixing bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and ground fennel. Dredge each of the chicken cutlets in the egg, allowing any excess to drip off before placing each into the seasoned breadcrumbs to coat on both sides.
In batches, fry the chicken cutlets for 4 to 5 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and continue frying the second batch until complete. Turn off the heat. Carefully clean out the oil and any breadcrumb “sludge.”
Add the remaining 1 cup of oil into the cleaned pan and place over medium heat. Dredge the eggplant slices in the egg, once again allowing any excess to drip off before dredging in breadcrumbs to completely coat both sides. Shake off excess breadcrumbs and fry in batches for 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
To assemble the lasagna: In a 9x13-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Lay 4 lasagna noodles on top to cover. Arrange all of the fried, breaded chicken cutlets in a single layer on top of the noodles. Top with some tomato sauce, Italian cheese blend and basil leaves. Top with 6 lasagna noodles (in an opposite pattern from the bottom layer). Evenly spread the ricotta on the noodles. Top with tomato sauce, and place the remaining 4 lasagna noodles on top in a single layer. Arrange all of the breaded, fried eggplant in a single layer on top of the noodles. Top with sauce, cheese and basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the lasagna noodles are fully cooked. Remove from the oven. Cool for 20 minutes before serving.