Make this Chicken Sorrentino with Eggplant for a fabulous meal! You'll love this dish, known as Pollo alla Sorrentina in Italian. My recipe includes prosciutto, marinara sauce, Romano and provolone cheeses!
Does anyone need a diving board?
Because you're going to want to dive into this plate of Italian goodness!
It's basically the love child of eggplant Parmigiana and chicken Parmigiana. Yum!!!
Known as "pollo alla Sorrentina" in Italian, this dish is named after Sorrento, a town close to where Mom grew up in Naples. The meal is inspired by gnocchi alla Sorrentina, which is made with potato dumplings, fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce.
At some point, chefs started adding the eggplant and prosciutto layers to this chicken dish. And, in the spirit of innovation, I've given this Chicken Sorrentino recipe my own twist, using provolone instead of mozzarella and Romano instead of Parmesan for the breaded eggplant.
We love it!
Chicken: You'll need six thin, boneless chicken breasts. You can save time by purchasing thin cutlets. Otherwise, buy three boneless, skinless chicken breasts (as pictured above) and you can split them into thinner pieces.
Eggplant: Choose a firm, glossy eggplant that's skinny if possible, so it will have fewer seeds.
Marinara: You'll need a quart of marinara, or two quarts if you plan to serve pasta with the Chicken Sorrentino. You can make the sauce while the eggplant slices are baking.
Prosciutto: You'll need six pieces of thinly sliced prosciutto. Buy them pre-packaged or get them from the deli counter. Prosciutto adds a wonderful, salty accent to Chicken Sorrentino.
Provolone: Buy slices of provolone at the deli counter or get the packaged slices in the dairy aisle. Provolone packs more of a flavor punch than mozzarella, but you can substitute mozzarella if needed.
Romano: Use regular or Pecorino Romano cheese. Romano has a saltier, stronger flavor than Parmesan and works really well in the bread crumb mixture for the eggplants. If you substitute Parmesan, you'll need to add a bit more salt.
Oil spray: You'll be spraying the surface of the breaded eggplant slices with oil before baking them. This helps them crisp up. If you don't want to use spray, you can lightly brush on olive oil, but be careful not to make the eggplant soggy.
Basil: They're not pictured above, but a couple of fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons adds a delicious accent and looks beautiful atop the chicken.
How to make chicken Sorrentino
See the recipe card at the end of this post for full instructions, but here's an overview.
Prepare the eggplant
- Toss the bread crumbs, Romano cheese and seasonings with a fork to combine.
- Dust each eggplant slice in flour to coat both sides.
- Dip the floured eggplant in beaten eggs, allowing the excess to drip off.
- Bread the eggplant, using a fork to pat down the crumbs on both sides.
- Place the eggplant rounds on a greased sheet pan. Spray the surface of each circle with cooking spray and bake on the first side for 15 minutes. Flip over, spray and bake for an additional five minutes.
Prepare the chicken
- If starting with thick chicken breasts, split each into two pieces by slicing through them (like splitting a deck of cards). If you're starting with thin cutlets, you can skip to step 2.
- Pound the chicken cutlets with a meat mallet (affiliate link) or the bottom of a heavy pan. All the cutlets should have an even thickness.
- Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet and cook the chicken on the first side for three minutes.
- Flip over the chicken and brown the second side for two minutes.
Now for the fun part!
- Ladle some marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Add the browned chicken in a single layer.
- Top each piece of chicken with a slice of prosciutto.
- Add a layer of breaded eggplant dotted with sauce.
- Place the provolone slices on top.
- Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees F, for 10 minutes, then broil the Chicken Sorrentino briefly to brown the cheese.
- Pounding the chicken cutlets tenderizes them and evens out their thickness, so they cook evenly. I really wanted to skip this step, but every time I tested this without pounding the chicken, I had issues with the texture and uneven cooking.
- Don't skip the broiling step at the end, because it browns the cheese, crisps up the edges and brings the X factor to this dish!
How to serve it
Spoon some marinara sauce onto each plate and place a piece of Chicken Sorrentino on top. Garnish with ribbons of basil. Serve with extra breaded eggplant slices on the side.
And feel free to serve these Chicken Sorrentino stacks over pasta, if you wish. I prefer skipping it, since there are already carbs in the eggplant breading. (Don't worry, I eat pasta at least twice a week!)
Frequently asked questions
You can make the breaded eggplant slices and tomato sauce and refrigerate them up to two days ahead of time. You could even freeze those items for longer. Then, the day you want to serve Chicken Sorrentino, you'll just have to prep the chicken, assemble it and bake it!
I haven't tried it yet, but it should work. Freeze the sauce separately.
More recipes like this
- Italian Chicken Cutlets (The Best!)
- Easy Chicken Marsala
- Traditional Italian Lasagna with Ricotta
- Italian Meatloaf with Chicken or Turkey
- 29 Thinly Sliced Chicken Breast Recipes
If you try this Chicken Sorrentino with Eggplant, be sure to leave a comment and a rating!
Chicken Sorrentino with Eggplant
- 1 pound eggplant (preferably a skinny, long one so it has fewer seeds; see notes)
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 extra large eggs
- ¾ cup plain bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup Romano cheese such as Pecorino
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt (not quite full)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 quart marinara sauce (Make one batch of Cooking with Mamma C's marinara without onions. If serving with pasta, make two batches, which equals 2 quarts.)
- 1 pound thin, boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (6 thin or 3 thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3.5 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (6 long slices)
- 6 ounces provolone cheese slices (10-12 round slices)
- 2 fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a sheet pan with cooking spray.
- Rinse the eggplant and pat it dry. Place the eggplant on a cutting board and slice off the stem and root ends and discard them. If you wish to peel the eggplant (recommended), use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin and discard it. Slice the eggplant into ⅓-inch thick rounds.
- Place the flour in a soup bowl or dinner plate. In another soup bowl, beat two eggs.
- Add the bread crumbs to a small mixing bowl or dinner plate. Stir in the Romano cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Set up an assembly line from left to right with the eggplants, flour, eggs, bread crumb mixture and the prepared sheet pan. Have three forks ready.
- Use a fork to place an eggplant slice into the flour. Flour both sides, turning over once.
- Use another fork to transfer the eggplant slice into the beaten eggs. Turn over to coat both sides, then let the excess egg drip off. Place the eggplant slice into the bread crumbs.
- Use another fork to pat the crumbs onto the eggplant, then flip the slice over and bread the other side. Transfer the breaded eggplant to the greased pan.
- Continue breading all of the eggplant slices. Place the eggplant slices in a single layer on the sheet pan. Spray the entire surface of the eggplant rounds with cooking spray. (This is important to achieve crispiness.)
- Bake the eggplants for 15 minutes on the first side (or until golden brown). Remove the pan from the oven and flip over the eggplants with a spatula. Spray the tops with cooking spray and bake for another five minutes, or until golden brown. They can stay at room temperature for up to 2 hours before needing refrigeration. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees if you're going to be baking the Chicken Sorrentino soon.
- Make one batch of Cooking with Mamma C's marinara sauce while eggplants are baking. (If you plan to serve pasta with this, make two batches of sauce.)
- If starting with three thick chicken breasts, you'll need to slice each one into two thin cutlets (like splitting a deck of cards). Once you have six thin chicken cutlets, pound them on a cutting board using a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan. Pound them so they are all the same thickness. (This tenderizes them too.) Wash hands well after handling raw meat.
- In a tiny bowl, add ⅛ teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir or whisk to combine. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly onto the chicken.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken cutlets in a single layer. You should be able to fit them all snugly. Cook the first side for three minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook the second side for two minutes, then turn off the heat.
Assemble the Chicken Sorrentino
- Ladle ½ cup of marinara into a 9x13 pan and spread the sauce evenly along the bottom. (A standard ladle measures ½ cup.)
- Place the browned chicken in the pan, in a single layer. Top each cutlet with one slice of prosciutto. (If the prosciutto is longer than the piece of chicken, you can fold the meat if needed to fit nicely on top.)
- Top each cutlet with two breaded eggplant slices, side by side. (See photos in the post.) You will need at least 12 slices of eggplant but will have extra. You can add them to the pan with the chicken or just save those to eat later. Dot some sauce onto the eggplant slices in the pan.
- Cover the eggplant slices with the provolone. You'll need two slices of provolone, side by side, for each large chicken cutlet and one slice of cheese for smaller pieces of chicken.
- Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. The cheese should be melted. Then, broil under high heat for 2 ½ minutes or until the cheese is browned.(Watch carefully during broiling, so nothing burns.)
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for five minutes. Stack the basil leaves and roll them into a cylinder. Snip the basil into ribbons with scissors or cut them with a small knife. Sprinkle the basil ribbons onto the chicken.
- To serve, ladle some marinara sauce onto each plate and place the chicken on top of the sauce. (Or, serve over pasta and ladle sauce on top.)
- Store leftover Chicken Sorrentino covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. Refrigerate extra breaded eggplant slices for up to four days. Refrigerate extra marinara separately for up to a week. Each of these items may be frozen.
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C. Inspired by several recipes online.)