GINNA PARSONS:Serve this chicken dish to guests

I know readers don't think I ever cook anything other than chicken but I love chicken and, even more, I love good recipes for chicken. I especially like recipes that are fairly simple (but look complicated when prepared) and have a dozen or fewer ingredients. I also appreciate recipes that call for ingredients that I already have at home or can easily put my hands on.

The following recipe for Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce fulfills all my requirements and is elegant to boot. I have made this once before and served it over angel hair pasta with a side salad. I cut way back on the whipping cream and substituted half-and-half, which cuts fat and calories but not taste. If you slice each chicken breast into 7 or 8 pieces and fan it over the pasta, then drizzle the sauce over it, it's pretty enough to serve to company.

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4-ounce jar diced pimiento, drained

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup minced fresh basil

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in milk, then coat with breadcrumbs. In a skillet over medium heat, brown chicken on both sides in butter and olive oil. Remove and place in preheated oven to keep warm.

Add broth to skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir to loosen browned bits from pan bottom. Stir in whipping cream and pimiento, boil and stir for one minute. Reduce heat. Stir in Parmesan, basil and pepper and cook until heated through. Mix cornstarch with extra chicken broth and stir into skillet if needed to thicken sauce. Drizzle sauce atop the chicken or use as a condiment on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal's food/home/garden editor.

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