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Chicken Meatloaf Parmigiana

Jeanette Donnarumma
Cook Time:
55 mins
Prep Time:
35 mins
Servings:
6
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Chef notes

In my humble opinion, topping any  food with marinara sauce and cheese is only going to make it better. In a game called “can you parm that”, there would never really be losers…mushrooms, pork cutlets, tacos, nachos, the list could go on and on. I challenged myself to “parming” up one of my favorite suppers‚ meatloaf — and it has since become a weeknight go-to for my family.

Chicken Parmigiana is the product of Italian immigrants from southern Italy, and is a twist on the Italian classic, melanzane (eggplant) alla parmigiana. Store-bought pesto is the secret ingredient in this dish, as it keeps the meatloaf moist and flavorful. It adds a depth in flavor with very minimal effort.  What is a Parmigian-inspired dish without a crispy, crunchy exterior? For this recipe, make toasted garlic-herb breadcrumbs, which are so delicious, you will want to make a double batch to sprinkle on salads, stuff in peppers or just eat with a spoon.

Leftovers of this dish are as delicious as the night you make it. They freeze beautifully, too. I like to portion mine into slices and wrap them individually, so if there's a night where I only have one to two mouths to feed, I can pull out exactly as many slices as I need.

Chicken Meatloaf Parmigiana is delicious with a side of roasted broccoli and spaghetti for a shake up on the classic spaghetti and meatballs.

Technique Tip: Be sure to let the onion and tomato paste mixture fully come to room temperature before mixing it into the ground meat. Adding a sheet of parchment paper on top of the baking sheet makes for an easier clean-up.

Swap Option: Substitute ground beef for ground chicken for a classic meatloaf take on this dish. Use Grana Padano in place of Parmigiano-Reggiano for a more budget-friendly flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cups panko breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, divided
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 anchovy filets, drained
Fulfilled by

Preparation

1.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line an 18-by-13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.

In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat until it ripples, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions, oregano, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 9 to 10 minutes. Add 2 cloves garlic and stir to combine. Cook until the garlic has softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes rich in color and smells fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

3.

In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup breadcrumbs, milk and pesto and stir to combine. Add ground chicken, eggs, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and cooled onion mixture. Use your hands to mix together.

4.

Place meatloaf mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and form into a 10-by 6-inch loaf. Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce over the meatloaf. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F.

5.

While meatloaf bakes, make the crispy breadcrumb topping. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, add remaining olive oil and butter. Once butter is melted, add anchovies and break them up with a spatula until they melt into the oil and butter, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining garlic and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining breadcrumbs and stir until they absorb the butter and oil and continue stirring until they toast and turn golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool.

6.

Switch oven to broil and move a rack to the 2nd position down from the broiler. Top meatloaf with remaining marinara and mozzarella. Broil until the cheese melts and is bubbly and brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

7.

Add remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley to the cooled breadcrumbs. Top with toasted breadcrumbs and let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing.