Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rosemary Chicken, Brown Butter and Balsamic Ravioli over a Bed of Spinach with a White Wine/ Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

Yum Yum.

I love to cook. Last night I made this great recipe I found on FoodNetwork.com. I changed the recipe a bit but it turned out really well. Lots of people that do cooking blogs are really good about taking pictures of their process all the way through.

I am not.

Maybe I'll get better as I think more about it and practice as I cook but I will post the original recipe first and then walk you through any changes I made.

The Original Recipe:



  • 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, eyeball it, just enough to coat chicken lightly
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 stems rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped, about 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and coarse black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin with a whack against the flat of your knife


  • 1 package, 12 to 16 ounces, fresh ravioli, any flavor filling
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I grated a block of Parmesan and it tasted great)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls

Spinach Salad: (I skipped this part almost completely)

  • 6 slices pancetta, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, eyeball it
  • 1 bunch, about 10 ounces flat-leaf spinach
  • Salt and pepper


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

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.

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.

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.

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 todrain and return pan to heat, reducing heat to medium. Add oil and shallots to the pan and let the shallots saute 2 minutes.

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. Addcheese, parsley, salt and pepper to the pasta and remove the pan from the heat.

To the sauteed shallots for the spinach salad, add sugar and cook sugar with shallots 1 minute. Add vinegar to the pan, scraping up pan drippings. Add spinach to the dressing and turn to wilt and coat it evenly in sweet vinaigrette. Add crisp pancetta to the salad.

Serve chicken along side ravioli and spinach salad, all on the same dinner plate.

My Version:

So, obviously I didn't follow this recipe exactly. I covered my chicken with a lid to help infuse it with the garlic and cook faster but it still took longer than 12 minutes- maybe because my breasts were very plump (no pun intended). The rest is all the same up until the part about the Spinach salad. I didn't have pancetta and Casey doesn't like onions so I pretty much scrapped the whole thing.

I heated a large white bowl in the microwave for a minute and then put down a bed of plain Spinach. On top of the Spinach I placed the balsamic and brown butter glazed raviolis.

Doesn't that brown glaze on the ravioli look delicious!? I also sprinkled the parsley

on top of it, but not as much as the recipe says. I just eyeballed it because I think

the recipe called for WAY too much.

Next, I was impatient for the chicken to be done, so I sliced up the breasts after they started to get a nice glaze on them from cooking in the balsamic vinegar. After that the chicken was done in a couple of minutes.

After the chicken was done I plopped it right on top of the ravioli's. There was still some remaining brown bits and vinegar in the pan so I decided to make a little sauce on the fly. I added a little white wine to my hot pan and a little more balsamic vinegar for flavor and color. Using those ingredients I deglazed the pan and then let it reduce for a couple of minutes until it started to look a little thick and syrupy (Is that a word?? If it's not, I'm coining it!). Once the sauce reached the syrupy consistency I poured it over the whole dish.

Delicious! I'm so glad I did the sauce! It was a lot less work than the salad in this recipe and the sauce dripped down onto the spinach making a nice dressing to soften the spinach while adding a little extra juicy-ness to the chicken. The whole cloves of garlic were really good too.

A little tip about garlic: The bigger the garlic, the milder the flavor. As large cloves of cracked garlic cook for a long time, they get very mellow, sweet and soft. I ate them right alongside the chicken and they were delicious.

Casey's rating: 5 stars
My rating: 5 stars

This is a pretty simple dish that I would definitely do again. All in all, it took me about 35 minutes to make the dinner from start to finish, but it looks and tastes much more impressive.