Chef’s Kitchen: Adriana’s Chicken Eggplant Parmigiana

ORLANDO, Fla. — In this week’s Chef’s Kitchen, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving Italian-style with local icon Isabella Morgia di Vicari. Chef Isabella and her husband Jeff own The Meatball Stoppe, as featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Chef Isabella is perhaps best known for her meatballs, but the one dish that warms her heart the most is a recipe coming from Mamma.

We’re not supposed to tell Mamma, but her daughter is revealing her secret ingredient (ahem — half and half). This Chicken Eggplant Parm recipe is jam-packed with love, tradition, joy, and famiglia.

Let’s cook!

Serves 4

  • Canola Oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 lb. Eggplant stripped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 to 1½ cup of half and half
  • 2 cups dried plain bread crumbs
  • 1½ cups freshly grated Romano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Basil (for seasoning)
  • Marinara sauce


  1. Beat the eggs in a bowl, and add half and half.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Fillet and pound chicken to tenderize, and add it to the beaten egg mixture.
    • This step can be done hours ahead of time.
  4. Get the dry ingredients together for the chicken and eggplant so you have an assembly line.
  5. Put the breadcrumbs in a wide, shallow dish, and season with Romano cheese and chopped parsley.
  6. Mix with a fork to distribute evenly.
  7. Remove chicken from the egg mixture, dip it into the breadcrumbs, and place it then on a plate.
  8. Repeat step 7 with the eggplant, and set aside.
  9. Heat canola oil over medium-high flame in a large saute pan.
  10. Dip chicken cutlets in the egg wash, then in the seasoned breadcrumbs, coating both sides completely.
  11. Set aside.
  12. Repeat steps 10 and 11 with the eggplant.
  13. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets, and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.
  14. Repeat step 13 with the eggplant.
  15. Ladle marinara sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
  16. Add the chicken, and top with marinara, then shredded mozzarella.
  17. Add layer of fresh spinach
  18. Set the fried eggplant on the fresh spinach, then add marinara sauce, and top with shredded mozzarella.
  19. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil.
  20. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
  21. Serve hot with your favorite pasta.

Buon Appetito!