A balsamic resurrection, of sorts

I was all gung-ho about this blog thing when I created it, but like most impulsive ideas, it hardly lasted. I forgot to take pictures the next few times I cooked, then I went back to school for Spring semester, and then I forgot about my blog altogether. I guess it's better to have been negligent before amassing some slew of devoted readers (my own parents haven't shown an interest in keeping tabs on it, so that gives you some idea of how optimistic I am of this taking off).

But then, being a Nutrition major, I had to take this class about food preparation. Essentially, I learn about everything from pots and pans to how to slow cook an egg, and why it isn't really sanitary to cook an egg that way, regardless. In this class, though, we're given extra credit if we cook something and take a picture of it. Aha! Well...it still wasn't enough, not even with it being my Spring Break. I made delicious (albeit formless and mushy) black bean burgers last night and, yet again, forgot my camera in all of the chaos trying to get everything together. But tonight I cooked again, and as it was in its final stages of sauteeing on low heat with my steamer bag of broccoli safe in the microwave, I finally remembered! I ran up and grabbed my camera, and turned into a near paparazzi member for food.

So onto tonight's adventure: Rosemary-Balsamic Chicken with Balsamic Ravioli, courtesy of Rachael Ray's cookbook.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8oz. each)
  • 4 T. balsamic vinegar (2 T. just to coat chicken, 2 T. for pasta)
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 stems Rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped (Substitution: dried Rosemary)
  • Salt & coarse ground black pepper (Omission: salt)
  • 4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin (Substitution: minced garlic)
  • 1 package fresh ravioli (12-16oz.) (Substitution: multi-grain elbow noodles)
  • 3 T. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 C chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Coat chicken in balsamic vinegar, then olive oil. Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper and let stand 10 minutes.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for ravioli. Salt water and drop ravioli in water. Cook 8 minutes or until raviolis expand, float to top of water, and are al dente.

3. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts and cracked garlic to the pan. Cook chicken 12 minutes, or until juices run clear, turning occasionally. The balsamic vinegar will produce a deep brown, sweet finish on the chicken as it cooks.

4. When the chicken is 2 or 3 minutes away from done, heat a second skillet over medium low to medium heat. To the second skillet, add butter to the pan and let it begin to brown.

5. Remove chicken from the first skillet and transfer to a warm platter. In a skillet over medium high heat and add the pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits, about 2 or 3 minutes, then transfer to paper towels to drain and return pan to heat, reducing heat to medium. Add oil and shallots to the pan and let the shallots saute 2 minutes.

6. When the butter for the ravioli has browned, add cooked ravioli to the pan and turn in butter to heat through. Add balsamic vinegar to the ravioli and cook a minute or 2 longer to reduce the vinegar and glaze the ravioli. The vinegar will become thick and syrup like. Add cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to the pasta and remove the pan from the heat.

It all began well. I got my chicken out nice and early, trimmed it, washed it, and marinated it. The recipe called for a 10 minute rest period, but because I tend to run around like a chicken without a head when I'm cooking, I decided a little extra few hours in the fridge with the marinade wouldn't hurt. One less thing to worry about, right?

So I started cooking, and everything kept going smoothly. I put the water on to boil for the pasta, it boiled, I started cooking the chicken, it didn't smoke up the entire kitchen as per usual. I melted the butter in the microwave trying to defrost it (a rookie move, I know), so when I put it in the pan for the pasta it didn't exactly brown as it should have. Regardless, it was all going swimmingly.

And then I drained the pasta...and realized there was almost nothing there. So I decided to add what I had to the pan to sautee in the butter and balsamic vinegar, and then put more water on to boil. Meanwhile, the chicken looked obviously done. I even cut into a fatter part of it and it looked dry. Since I'm terrified of serving dry chicken and it wasn't ready to be plated, I turned the heat down to low and shoved the chicken breasts to the edges of the pan, away from the central heat. I finished with the pasta, taking it off the heat as instructed...but then it sat too long waiting for everyone to get down to the table.

Basically, the pasta was cold (macaroni noodles apparently lose their heat quickly, as my all-knowing sister who has cooked three things in her life informed me wisely and matter-of-factly), and the chicken was absolutely not done in the center. It wasn't raw, and the parts that were cooked were deliciously moist, but let's just say it's good that this was a small family dinner. All in all though, I think it turned out well! And (mostly) everyone was understanding of the few faux-pas.

My next foray with chicken, however, is for a crowd of nine people, so let's hope I can master the art of fully cooking my meat, huh? You should be hearing from me soon: that crowd is set to arrive at 6pm Wednesday evening to celebrate my puppy's 1st birthday.

I promise, we aren't one of those crazy dog people. I just like any excuse to bake a cake, and people seem to like any excuse to eat it.

Until next time!

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