Thursday, January 21, 2010

Penne with Alfredo Sauce and Balsamic Glazed Chicken

This dinner was made especially per my oldest daughter's request. She loves anything with Alfredo sauce....especially if chicken is involved. Rather than go with the usual grilled chicken strips over pasta and sauce, I decided to play with the flavors of the chicken. I wanted a sauce that would complement the Alfredo without overpowering it; this is the result.

This is just a basic recipe for alfredo sauce. You can add a variety of things to mix it up and cater to your particular craving. My favorite additions are listed below. Add your choice (or a combination) of the following after the cheese is incorporated:
  • 1 c broccoli florets. Some people like peas, and that's a possibility as well. Personally I think peas are disgusting.
  • 1/2-1 c of sauteed mushrooms. Make sure to thoroughly remove the gills of the mushrooms, as they will discolor the sauce if left in.
  • 1/2 cup lightly sauted yellow onion.
  • 1 c prepared salad shrimp.
  • 1/2 cup crumbled bacon.
When combining any of the above, plan to have a total of 1 cup of additions unless you want a very chunky sauce. Feel free to use your imagination....because alfredo isn't an authentic Italian sauce, you won't be offending anyone's cuisine by catering to your own whims!

Alternatively, you can use all parmesan cheese. I like the earthiness that the gruyere adds to the sauce, making it a more complex flavor.

Alfredo Sauce

1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 c dry white wine or chicken stock
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, finely crushed
1 c shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 c shredded gruyere cheese
fresh cracked pepper and salt
chopped parsley and thin sliced red onion for garnish (if desired)

Melt 1 tbs butter over med heat and saute garlic for 1 minute. Decrease heat to med-low; add cream, wine, and red pepper flakes. Heat through while stirring frequently. Add remaining butter and stir gently until melted.

Add cheeses; stir until melted and combined. Salt and pepper to taste (you'll need more pepper than salt in this case, as the cheese adds quite a bit of saltiness).

Serve over your favorite pasta. Garnish with parsley and red onion (optional). Makes about 8 half-cup servings.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbs light olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 c dry white wine
1 tbs sugar

Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat grill pan over med-high heat and add 1 tbs of the oil. Brown chicken about 2 minutes per side; remove from pan and set aside.

Lower heat to med and add remaining oil. Saute garlic for about 1 minute. Add vinegar and wine; stir to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring vinegar to a boil, then simmer over med heat for 10 minutes.

Add chicken back to pan and cover. Simmer 10 minutes, turning once. Remove from pan and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Top with remaining glaze in pan. Serves 4.

1 comment:

  1. this.... looks..... fantastic..... and, pardon me while i drool..... kinda makes me wanna throw out my 'dinner like a beggar' rule for just.... one.... evening......

    ((((crazy nomming homer noises))))