Recipe of the Month Pro Tips: Chicken Parmesan By: Lodge Cast Iron / February 28, 2023 One of our favorite things about learning a new recipe is adding a few new techniques to our toolkit. This month, for our first-ever Recipe of the Month, we’re putting a 12 inch Blacklock skillet to work for a one-pan chicken parmesan pasta and chicken parmesan sandwich that feature some super helpful techniques. Check out Chef Kris Stubblefield’s pro tips and cook your way through the recipes—or put these to work on a dish of your own invention! E-mail this page Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Print this page Pro Tip 1 How to make tomato sauce in cast iron (yes, you can!) You might have heard some talk about avoiding acidic items like tomatoes when you’re cooking in cast iron because it can damage your seasoning or impact the taste of your food. But a properly seasoned pan won’t add metallic flavor to food, nor will it get damaged during a quick simmer. The key is to maintain a good seasoning routine with your skillet. Each time you cook, make sure to hand-wash your pan, dry it with a lint-free cloth or paper towel, and then rub a thin layer of oil or seasoning spray into the pan’s surface. Pro Tip 2 How to smooth out that sauce Making your own pan sauce but don’t want to break out the immersion blender? Same. Chef Kris swears by a fish spatula for crushing tomatoes and getting sauces uniformly smooth. “My fish spatula is an extension of my soul,” he says. “Crushing tomatoes with a fish spatula is a much more efficient way to smooth out your sauce. Plus, you’ll feel really cool doing it.” Pro Tip 3 How to butterfly a chicken breast This is a great technique for getting a chicken breast into a uniform size so it cooks evenly. Start by putting your uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast on a clean cutting board. Rest your hand flat across the breast and using a good chef’s knife, slice the breast horizontally. Don’t cut all the way through, though: cut to about an inch from the edge of the chicken breast, then open it up like a book into a butterfly shape. From there, sandwich the chicken breast between two pieces of parchment paper and pound with a rolling pin. “This is a good time to take out a little aggression,” says Chef Kris. “Just don’t take it too far, we want tenderized chicken about ½- to ¾- inch thick, not ground meat.” Pro Tip 4 How to shallow fry in a cast iron skillet Shallow frying is a great technique for getting a perfectly browned, crispy crust without having to heat a whole pot of oil. Heat your skillet over medium-low heat with ¼ cup of olive oil for about 5 minutes. You can use a toothpick to test if your oil is hot enough for your chicken: if it starts bubbling, you're good to go! But if your oil starts to smoke during the preheating or cooking process, your oil is too hot. No big deal: just pull the skillet off the heat for a bit and lower your burner temperature. Once the heat is the perfect temperature, slide a breaded chicken cutlet (or other tasty protein) into the oil and cook until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Pro Tip 5 How to make any pasta a no-boil pasta Everything changed when we learned you can essentially make any pasta into a no-boil noodle. It’s all about getting a great sauce base prepared, and then thinning it out with broth or water. Then, add your dry noodles and stir to coat (this part is crucial). From there, you can bake your one-pan pasta dish until the noodles are to your liking. Add a few tablespoons of water or broth if you notice your liquid evaporating or absorbing before everything is fully cooked. Cook, eat, and share! Make our One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta at home and show us what's cooking by following along on Instagram at @lodgecastiron. Get the recipe Contributed By: Lodge Cast Iron We hope you enjoy our stories and recipes! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and tag your Instagram food photos with #lodgecastiron for a chance to be featured on our feed!