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This sandwich is based on the Luther menu item from Zio’s deli in Buffalo, NY and has been adapted to the home kitchen as best as possible.

INGREDIENTS (4 sandwiches)

Hoagie Rolls (from The Kitchen Whisperer)

  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups water (110-115F)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 packet / 7 grams instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon / 6 grams kosher salt
  • Half a stick / 4 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg for wash

Chicken Cutlets

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, to coat
  • Panko breadcrumbs, to coat
  • Vegetable / canola oil for pan frying

Vodka Sauce

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • ⅓ cup vodka
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Kosher salt to taste*

Sandwich toppings

  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Dried or fresh basil leaves
  • Grated parmigiano-reggiano (optional) 


In Advance:

  1. Trim fat and butterfly chicken breasts.
  2. Cover cutlets with plastic wrap and use a meat tenderizer to pound breasts into even thickness, around ¼ – ½ inch thick.
  3. Salt both sides of each cutlet with kosher salt. Store in a sealed plastic bag until ready to use.
  4. This can be done immediately before cooking, the morning of cooking, or ideally the night before.

Hoagie Rolls:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, or large stainless steel bowl, add 250 grams of bread flour, and the water, sugar, and yeast. Mix on low for 4 minutes or mix with spoon and hand until lightly combined.
  2. Add salt and 125 grams of remaining flour at a time and mix for 5-6 minutes total until dough is slack. If dough is still too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. On a mixer the speed should be brought up to medium by the end of kneading.
  3. Add butter 1 Tablespoon at a time, adding the next when the previous tablespoon is fully incorporated. Mix until dough is smooth and elastic, clearing the bowl of the stand mixer if used. Transfer to a greased bowl and cover, allowing to rest until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).
  4. Punch down dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces and shape into rolls by flattening into rectangles of the preferred roll length, then folding over and rolling into a seamless cylinder. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise again until doubled, approx. 30-45 minutes.
  5. Toward the end of rising, preheat the oven to 375 F. Make a slash along the length of each roll using a lame or razor blade (or very sharp knife), and coat with egg wash. Bake for around 20 minutes, or until a deep golden brown color develops.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before using.

Vodka Sauce:

  1. Add olive oil to a large saute or sauce pan, and add onions once heated. Cook onions until blonde and soft, around 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minutes or until aromatic.
  2. Add tomatoes and vodka, stirring to incorporate. Cook for 5-10 minutes until slightly reduced.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, oregano, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add basil and puree sauce until smooth with an immersion blender or blender. Return sauce to pan and stir in half and half until incorporated and warmed.

Chicken Cutlets: 

  1. Remove cutlets from the fridge and allow to warm up slightly before cooking.
  2. Scramble 2 eggs in a shallow bowl and add panko breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl or plate to form breading station.
  3. Heat nonstick or cast iron pan on medium high heat until ripping hot. Add oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan for a shallow fry, and allow oil to become hot.
  4. Coat each side of cutlet in egg wash and then panko breadcrumbs, using one hand for wet coating and the other for dry. Add cutlets to pan by laying away from you, frying 2 at a time.
  5. Cook each side 2-3 minutes or until a deep golden brown color develops and then flip. Remove from heat when both sides are fully cooked or internal temperature registers 160-165F. 
  6. Allow to cool slightly before placing on sandwich.

Sandwich Assembly:

  1. Cut sub rolls open. Spread each side with a coat of vodka sauce. Add a cutlet and thinly sliced fresh mozzarella to cover. Add optional grated parmesan to top roll. Add fresh or dried basil leaves. Enjoy!


* If making this vodka sauce for pasta, do not add salt to sauce, or add very little. Pasta should contain salt from properly salted water.

I am a Junior at Michigan State University, writing about culture for Her Campus.
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