Please tell me I'm not the only person on the planet who remembers Seems Like Old Times with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn.
This movie is so 80's it makes me want to roll up my shirt sleeves and curl my bangs. Goldie Hawn drives a station wagon, Chevy Chase is still handsome, and haute couture cuisine is pepperoni chicken. Specifically - Aurora's Famous Pepperoni Chicken - their housekeeper's signature dish that she makes for VIP guests.
I've wanted to make this dish for years. The only problem was there was no recipe. A quick Google search revealed other 80's fans like me who had looked for it in vain. Luckily the major players in the recipe are in the name.
I started with the most obvious, the chicken, flattening boneless skinless breasts and seasoning them with salt, pepper and dried oregano. I then sprinkled them with lots of shredded parmesan and added a layer of pepperoni over the top. I rolled the breasts up like a burrito, staked them shut with spaghetti noodles and baked them in a bath of tomato sauce and red pepper flakes. In the last couple minutes, I added thin slices of fresh mozzarella over the top and browned them under the broiler.
I have no idea if what I concocted was at all like the recipe in the movie but I was shocked at how good it was. What started as a joke-slash-kitchen-therapy resulted in a new favorite dish. I too would serve this to senators and head judges, just like they do in the film.
Aurora's 'Famous' Pepperoni Chicken
* You can assemble the entire dish ahead (sans the mozzarella) and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before baking. Just put into a cold oven uncovered and bake as directed.
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
1 cup shredded parmesan
salt and pepper
1 package pepperoni slices
red pepper flakes
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
1 (16 oz) jar of your favorite marinara sauce (mine is Rao's)
spaghetti or toothpicks for securing the chicken
Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
To each flattened chicken breast, season 1 side (the topside) with salt, pepper, onion powder and a good pinch of dried oregano each, scattering it evenly over. Next add a layer of shredded park - just a light but solid layer (you don't want too much or it will be hard to roll them.) Finally add a layer of pepperoni, just overlapping them slightly. Again don't go doubling up the pepperoni or it will be too hard to roll.
Starting at the wide end, carefully roll up the chicken trying to keep all of the filling in. If any squeezes out, just stuff it back in with your fingers. Use toothpicks or spaghetti (broken into 3" pieces) to stake it into place. Season the tops of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, add the jar of sauce to your baking dish. Scatter over a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, optional. Nestle each chicken roll in the sauce spreading them out evenly across the dish.
Bake for 20 minutes, if normal sized breasts, 25 if they are the really large kind. Remove and layer the top of the chicken with mozzarella. Put back in the oven on the highest rack and bake another 8 minutes or until the top of the mozzarella has begun to turn golden. If need be, you can kick the broiler on to help it along.
Remove and let cool for 5-8 minutes before serving.