1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and diced
1 carrot, very finely grated
28 oz can diced tomatoes (796 ml)
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 to 6 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups fresh Italian or French bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
8 oz (250 g) mild provolone cheese, sliced or grated
- To make sauce, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute 2 or 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add red pepper, carrot and tomatoes, including juice. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Partially cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in sugar, basil and black pepper. Sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.
- Remove fillets from chicken breasts. Place each piece of chicken, including fillets, between pieces of plastic wrap or inside a heavy plastic bag. Flatten to 1/2 inch thick using a flat mallet. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Stir flour with salt. Lightly flour 3 to 4 pieces chicken at a time. Saute 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Chicken may not be fully cooked. Remove and repeat with remaining chicken adding more oil as needed. Spoon some of the tomato sauce into hot frying pan to deglaze. Stir back into sauce in pot.
- Stir garlic with 2 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl. Add bread crumbs, half of grated Parmesan and chopped basil. Toss crumbs until coated.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or coat with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup of sauce in bottom. Arrange chicken in a single layer, overlapping pieces as needed. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and provolone cheeses. Spoon another cup of sauce over top. Sprinkle evenly with crumbs. You may refrigerate covered casserole and remaining sauce for several hours if making ahead.
- Bake uncovered in centre of oven for 40 to 45 minutes (10 minutes longer if casserole has been refrigerated) or until bubbly and top is golden brown. Reheat remaining sauce. Place a small amount of sauce on warmed serving plate. Top with a portion of casserole. Pass remaining sauce.