Southern Fried Chicken Parmesan

Look closely and you will see the secret to this gooey chicken Parmesan. Instead of a thin chicken cutlet, we've thrown in a juicy piece of homemade southern fried chicken. This might be the ultimate comfort food.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

2 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)

Vegetable oil, for frying

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

One 32-ounce jar marinara

One 8-ounce piece part-skim mozzarella, sliced into 8 thick slices

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

8 ounces spaghetti

8 fresh basil leaves

Directions

Special equipment:
a deep fry thermometer
  1. Whisk together the buttermilk, red pepper flakes and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with a cooling rack. Add enough vegetable oil to a large Dutch oven or pot, fitted with a deep fry thermometer, so that it is filled a little less than halfway. Heat over medium heat until 350 degrees F. 
  3. Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil. Whisk together the flour, Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl. 
  4. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, one piece at a time, letting the excess drip off and drop into the flour. Rotate and toss chicken in the flour until completely coated. Add the breaded chicken to the oil in batches of 2 to 3 pieces. Fry until light golden brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side, then remove to the prepared rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Top each piece of chicken with 2 tablespoons of the sauce, a slice of mozzarella and some Parmesan. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F, about 25 minutes.  
  5. Meanwhile, add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Heat the marinara in a small saucepan. 
  6. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm marinara onto the bottom of a serving platter. Transfer the chicken to the platter. Serve with the pasta topped with the remaining sauce, a sprinkle of Parmesan and a basil leaf.

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