This is a lighter, quicker but just as cheesy version of chicken Parm — no deep-frying required! My 12-year-old loves it with a big green salad on the side.
Technique tip: This dish cooks quickly, so keep your eye on the chicken to make sure it doesn't overcook.
Swap options: Turkey cutlets can be swapped in for chicken. To make a vegetarian version, skip the meat and substitute 6 cups cooked vegetables. You don't have to brown them, just add them to the pan with the sauce in Step 4. Roasted winter squash, cauliflower and broccoli, sautéed greens, broiled or sautéed zucchini, eggplant or mushrooms are all excellent. Or use a combination of veggies for the most colorful meal. To make this spicy, add a big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to the pan along with the garlic.
Position oven rack 4 inches from the broiler and then turn on broiler. Place a large plate next to the stove to put the chicken as it cooks.2.
Sprinkle the chicken cutlets all over with the salt and the oregano.3.
In a large, ovenproof skillet, over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and let it heat up for about 20 seconds. It will thin out as it heats but shouldn't start to smoke. Add as many pieces of the seasoned chicken to the skillet as fit in one layer without overlapping (usually 2 or 3). Let the chicken cook until it is pale golden on the bottom (about 2 minutes), then use tongs to flip them and let them get golden on the other side, another 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer cooked chicken to the plate and continue cooking the remaining chicken, adding more oil if the pan looks dry.4.
When the chicken is browned, add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and stir in the garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds to a minute, just until you can smell it. Stir in the marinara sauce, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan and pepper, and let the sauce come to a simmer.5.
Nestle the chicken cutlets into the sauce, then spoon the sauce over to cover the chicken (mostly covered; the chicken can poke through a bit).6.
Sprinkle the mozzarella and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan evenly over the chicken, Transfer skillet to the broiler and broil for 1-3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and browned in spots. Keep your eye on it; the cheese can go from melted to burnt in under a minute. Sprinkle with basil, if using, and serve immediately.