Low on dinner inspiration? These flavor-packed Italian-American chicken recipes will satisfy

Not feeling chicken parmigiana? Try these Italian-American flavors, instead

Published August 7, 2021 4:30PM (EDT)

Crispy chicken Milanese. Spinach, grilled zucchini and walnut salad with potato chips. Pasta with vongole and tobiko caviar. (Getty Images)
Crispy chicken Milanese. Spinach, grilled zucchini and walnut salad with potato chips. Pasta with vongole and tobiko caviar. (Getty Images)

When people think about Italian-American chicken recipes, their mind probably wanders to dishes like luscious chicken marsala or chicken piccata dotted with briny capers and lemon. They may also think of chicken parmesan, which Salon's Michael La Corte aptly described as "the apex and confluence of weeknight meal, red sauce joint staple and comfort food." 

"My chicken parm is reliable, dependant and a constant," he wrote. "I know that I can bread chicken, I know that I can make sauce, I know that I can top chicken and sauce with copious heaps of cheese with reckless abandon. And I know that it'll taste delicious." 

But let's say that you find yourself with some extra chicken, but you're low on inspiration – that's where La Corte comes in again with some dishes that are perhaps a little lesser known, but just as classic and delicious: pollo alla saltimbocca and pollo alla Francese. 

Per La Corte, Taste Atlas writes that saltimbocca originated in Brescia, "a Lombaridan city nestled at the foot of the apps," but it is now wildly popular within Roman cuisine. "Salti in bocca" means "jumps in the mouth," it is typically made with veal, and it is made with prosciutto, sage, white wine, and usually garlic, cheese and a touch of tomato. It was first written about in Pellegrino Artrusi's cookbook in 1891. 

Meanwhile, La Corte notes "chicken Francese is a bit of a wonky amalgamation."

"It is sometimes called chicken French, and one might even argue that it's more French than Italian, but it's become a simple, customary inclusion in the Italian-American repertoire of chicken classics," he said. 

La Corte shares his recipe for a base chicken which can be used for both recipes, as well as the preparations and sauces that give them their signature flavors. 


Recipe: Base Chicken 


  • 1.5 pounds chicken breasts, thinly sliced or pounded
  • Kosher salt to taste 
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste 
  • Enough AP flour to thoroughly coat the chicken (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. Using salt and pepper, season the chicken breasts well on both sides. Then, in a large shallow bowl or rimmed plate, season the flour with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. 

2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan or skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. 

3.. Dredge the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour — coating both sides — before adding to the pan. Cook the chicken until the coating is a deep, golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. 

5. Move the chicken to a plate, drain the pan of the cooking fat and return to the stove. 


Recipe: Pollo alla Saltimbocca


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 to 6 sage leaves
  • 4 to 5 pieces prosciutto di parma
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 to 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Melt the butter in the pan in which you cooked the chicken

2. Meanwhile, place the reserved chicken pieces on a sheet pan with prosciutto, sage leaves and shredded mozzarella and put under broiler until cheese is melted and prosciutto is crisping at the edges.

3. To pan with butter, add white wine, deglaze and reduce by half.

4. Add chicken stock and lemon to the pan, reduce by half, and add chicken to pan. Do not turn in the sauce.

5. Sprinkle with chopped parsley


Recipe: Pollo alla Francese


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 lemons, juiced and zested
  • Handful of freshly chopped parsley

(Note: For Francese, prepare chicken as usual, but also mix 2 to 3 eggs with a splash of milk or heavy cream and whisk until homogeneous. Stir in salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour, then eggs, and then add to pan.)


1. Melt butter in the pan in which you cooked the chicken. 

2. Add white wine to the pan over medium heat, deglaze and reduce by half.

3. Add stock, lemon juice and zest, and reduce by half.

4. Add chicken back to pan, warm through and further reduce, marrying chicken and sauce, and sprinkle with parsley.


More by this author: 

By Michael La Corte

Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.

MORE FROM Michael La Corte

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

MORE FROM Ashlie D. Stevens

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