My love for bruschetta runs deep. Especially if it’s done the right way. I remember in the late ’90s or early 2000s when high-end restaurants started serving bruschetta on crustini as an appetizer and saturated the tomato and basil mixture with garlic. I wouldn’t want to step foot in a dance club or bar after that for fear my dragon breath would blow everyone away.
Now days, I’ll get a jones for the bruschetta served at a small organic produce store nearby–but it’s only prepared on some days as part of their salad bar buffet. It’s a crap shoot. And it’s one I’m willing to risk. And believe me, you know that it’s being served that day before you even enter foot into the old farmer-style establishment because the aroma is tantalizing. Savory, I think is the word for it. Sweet with garlic and a little tart because of the vinegar. Absolutely divine. Their mixture is served on sliced french bread, toasted in the oven with olive oil.
Done with some proper balance, I think the tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil and (in my case, balsamic vinegar) mixture that goes on top of some type of toasted or soft bread or crunchy crustini is the type of food that almost everyone can sink his or her teeth into and enjoy. And when you top chicken with it, it’s not just an appetizer anymore. It’s a meal.
Here’s what I’ve come up with. I love it. My husband loves it. And remarkably my kids eat it!
Ingredients (to serve four people):
-1 pound of thin sliced chicken breasts or three chicken breast steaks pounded out thin inside of a zipper bag
-Three tomatoes, diced
-Five or six leaves of fresh basil, rolled together and cut into thin strips (or you could use a half tablespoon of dried basil)
-Two cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
-Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (and a little extra to brush the checkin with)
-One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
-Shredded parmesan cheese
-Salt and pepper
-1 pound of spaghetti
-Two green zucchinis, diced (if desired)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Start boiling salted water for the spaghetti.
Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup!). Brush the chicken breasts on both sides with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Season with a little garlic powder, salt and pepper. Lay the chicken evenly on the baking sheet and place on the top rack of the oven. Bake on the first side about eight minutes or until golden.
Add spaghetti to the boiling water. If desired, add a stacker-steamer pot to the top of the pot and steam some cut-up zucchini while the pasta is cooking.
In the meantime, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. When hot, toss in the tomatoes and garlic. Saute until the veggies are soft. Add the basil and balsamic vinegar and saute for a small amount of time. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove mixture from the heat.
Flip chicken breasts and cook another eight minutes or until golden. Next, transfer the chicken breasts to a foil-lined baking dish so the chicken lines up but doesn’t overlap. Top the chicken with the tomato mixture, top with parmesan cheese, turn your oven on broil and broil until the top is melted and bubbly.
Toss the spaghetti with a small amount of olive oil and salt. Plate pasta on each person’s plate and place one or two chicken breasts with bruschetta mixture on top. Enjoy!