The Cheesecake Factory is probably on my top list of great food chain restaurants. Even with an extensive menu, many of the dishes taste great and they’re very consistent across the board. Only recently did I discover that the Cheesecake Factory published some of their recipes for their most popular dishes on their website; can you sense my excitement? On that list included a dish called chicken Bellagio which consists of crispy pan-fried chicken over basil pasta with prosciutto and parmesan cream sauce. I never tried this meal at the restaurant but since the recipe was available, why not attempt to make this dish myself?
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The Cheesecake Factory has been generous enough to share their recipes; however, not all of the details are given. But then again, how can you blame them since they probably want some things to stay a secret, right?
The chicken for this dish is a basic flour, egg, bread crumb mixture. I prefer panko, Japanese breadcrumbs, as opposed to regular bread crumbs because it yields a crispier coating. If using panko, season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.
For the parmesan cream sauce, I prepared a bechamel and added grated parmesan to the mix. Simply heat 1/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan. Add 2 tbsp flour once the butter has melted, whisking together until combined. Slowly add 1 cup heavy cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Add 1 cup grated Parmesan and heat until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper.
For the basil oil, simply blanch 1/2 cup basil in hot water for 10 seconds. Immediately transfer to an ice bath and let cool. Squeeze out the excess water. Blend the basil with 1/4 cup olive oil. Let sit for 30 minutes then strain the oil, discarding the basil but keeping the oil. Have leftover basil oil? Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let sit at room temperature before using.
Top the chicken and pasta with prosciutto and a lightly dressed arugula salad and you have yourself chicken Bellagio! Once I prepared the dish I realized how basic each component is, but put them all together and you have one fabulous dish. The creamy pasta with the crispy chicken and salty prosciutto is lightened with the arugula salad and all work perfectly together. Now time to try this at the Cheesecake Factory!
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