Donal Skehan’s Weeknight Family Dinner Recipes – One Pan Pizza, Pasta Al Limone, Chicken Parmigiana

Classics for family meals are important to me. Growing up, my mother had hers, the meals that guarantee empty plates, the recipes that are foolproof and can be churned out even in the busiest of weeks. Now with my own family, I turn to my own repertoire of classics for comfort. That being said, I’m always looking for something new to add to my ever-growing list of favorites, and this week I want to bring you some serious contenders. The mission is simple: simple methods, few ingredients, and ridiculously desirable results.

he first on my list: pizza. I wouldn’t even dream of trying homemade pizza for a weeknight dinner, but this quick one-pan version here turns everything you know about pizza nights on its head. Granted, it’s not the traditional Italian method, but it’s good value as it doesn’t offer a rise time, yet delivers a chewy, crunchy base that’s the perfect platform for a whole host of creative toppings. I suggested a topping of shaved fennel, Italian salami, a squeeze of honey, and a sprinkling of chilli flakes for the heat, but the base is worth a try with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

Next, an American-Italian classic, Chicken Parmigiana. A meal of simple ingredients, crispy thin chicken that’s brushed with marinara sauce and then placed under a hot grill with lots of cheese and cooked until melted, oozing and irresistible.

Lastly, a pasta dish, and who doesn’t need another great pocket pasta recipe that delivers? Pasta Al Limone is making a small comeback online. The recipe as I know it comes from the late great Marcella Hazan, the grande dame of Italian cooking, where she bathes fettuccine in a sauce of cooked cream with lemon zest and juice for an easy and oh-so-satisfying triumph achieve.

One pan pizza with honey, fennel and salami

Servings: 4

For best results, use a heavy-bottomed pan with an oven-safe handle. Master the batter once and you can always come back and change up the toppings however you like.

For the dough:

500g 00 flour

1 teaspoon Baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

150-200 ml of warm water

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp chilli flakes

200 grams of passata

For the toppings:

16-20 slices of Italian salami

1 fennel bulb, very finely chopped

200g grated mozzarella

125 g ball of buffalo mozzarella

2 tbsp runny honey

Good pinch of chilli flakes

Small handful of basil leaves

method

1. Heat up the oven as high as possible. Prepare the dough, mix flour and baking powder with 1 tsp salt. Add the yoghurt, oil and water and knead into a smooth dough.

2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the garlic and chili, followed by the passata. Simmer until slightly reduced to a nice, thick, spreadable sauce.

3. Heat a skillet or heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet (cast iron is best) on stovetop over medium-high heat. Add some of the remaining oil and let it heat up.

4. Divide the dough into 4 and roll out each to the size of your pan. Place one of the pizza bases inside and bake for a minute until slightly bubbling, then brush with ¼ of the sauce and sprinkle with the salami, fennel and cheese.

5. Place in the oven for 5-6 minutes until golden brown and melted. Once it comes out, drizzle with honey, chilli flakes and sprinkle over basil leaves. Slide onto a board and repeat with the remaining pizzas, devouring the first pizza while the second bakes.

Pasta Al Limone

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Pasta a lime. Image: Donal Skehan

Servings: 2

Inspired by family life and the need for fast, convenient food. A no-fuss dish that’s a weeknight hug in a bowl. Both linguine and fettuccine would also work in this recipe.

ingredients

250 g good quality tagliatelle

2 lemons, grated

250 ml double cream

50 grams of butter

100 g Parmesan, finely grated

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

method

1. Place a large saucepan of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions.

2. While the pasta is cooking, place the lemon zest in a separate saucepan along with the heavy cream. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced, stirring frequently. Add butter, stir. The butter should immediately melt into the liquid.

3. Add the noodles to the sauce along with some of the cooking liquid, toss to coat the noodles in the sauce, simmer for a minute or two, until the noodles have absorbed most of the liquid. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in two-thirds of the cheese, reserving some and serving. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately in bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and parsley.

Chicken Parmigiana

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Pamesan chicken. Image: Donal Skehan

Servings: 4

For the marinara sauce, look for the best canned tomatoes. I also requested Japanese panko breadcrumbs as they are coarser flakes that absorb less oil, resulting in a lighter, crunchier coating.

For the tomato marinara sauce:

3-4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ tsp dried red chili flakes

½ tsp dried oregano

2 x 400 g tin whole plum tomatoes

sea-salt

For the breaded chicken:

4 medium chicken breasts

300 ml sunflower oil

200 g fine dry breadcrumbs (Japanese panko works well)

2 large free range eggs, cracked

50 g flour, seasoned

100g Parmesan cheese, finely chopped in a food processor

To serve:

Cooked spaghetti

method

1. For the marinara sauce, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When hot, add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes or until soft and lightly golden. Add the garlic, chili flakes, and oregano and stir through for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and fill one of the cans halfway with water and add that as well. Bring the contents of the pan to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by half.

3. Check the seasonings before adding the sauce to a food processor or blender. Blitz until smooth – you can also pass the sauce through a fine sieve if you like. Pour the sauce into a container and set aside.

4. Place the chicken breasts on the cutting board, place a piece of parchment paper on top and use a rolling pin to gently flatten the chicken breasts to a thickness of about 1 cm.

5. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the breadcrumbs, egg, and seasoned flour in three separate wide bowls. Remove the parchment paper and dip each breast in the seasoned flour, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs.

6. Fry the breaded chicken in the oil for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. It continues to cook in the oven/grill. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Depending on the size of the pan, you may need to do this in batches.

7. Preheat an oven to 240°C/475F/Gas mark 9 or a grill to the hottest setting. Line a large, low-sided baking sheet with parchment paper.

8. Place the chicken breasts on the baking sheet and brush each generously with the marinara sauce, spreading to the brim. Sprinkle each breast with Parmesan cheese, then lightly drizzle the cheese with a few tablespoons of water – this will help the Parmesan melt slightly. Place in the oven or under the grill for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese and sauce is bubbling and the chicken is cooked through.

9. Serve immediately with freshly cooked spaghetti.

https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/recipes/donal-skehans-midweek-family-dinners-one-pan-pizza-pasta-al-limone-chicken-parmigiana-39498040.html Donal Skehan’s Weeknight Family Dinner Recipes – One Pan Pizza, Pasta Al Limone, Chicken Parmigiana

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