It's A Keeper: Balsamic Chicken with Pesto Gravy & Bitter Greens

Come back tomorrow for some of Rachael Ray's recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers! In the meantime, check out this 15-minute meal that might be good to make Wednesday night, in anticipation of being in the kitchen all day Thursday.

The recipe for Balsamic Chicken with Pesto Gravy & Bitter Greens was the first recipe Rachael Ray featured on her talk show. At the end of the first season, it ended up as number seven on her top 10 list of recipes.

This recipe reminded me of Chicken Paillard, but the pesto added a fun twist. And I pretty much love any recipe where I get to make cute parmie shavings with my vegetable peeler (simple minds, simple pleasures).

The recipe said it was for four, but I think it's really just two servings, since it calls for just two chicken breasts. However, the 15-minute meal promise that accompanied this recipe was dead on. It was simple, easy, and didn't destroy the kitchen. I think it's perfect for a weeknight, but can be fancy enough for guests, too.

Here is the recipe with my comments in brackets:

2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 bunches arugula, thoroughly washed [I just bought pre-washed organic baby arugula in a bag and that was enough.]
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Parmigiano Reggiano shavings [made with your vegetable peeler]
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half [I used organic half and half and thought it worked out well.]
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought pesto [They sell pesto near the cheese and yogurt in my store.]

Heat a large skillet over high heat [I thought medium-high was good enough, otherwise the chicken would end up burned on the outside, unless the breasts are really thin] with a little drizzle of EVOO. Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using the bottom of a heavy pot or small sauté pan, give each chicken breast a good smack to make them even thinner. [Even thinner? This made me think I should have bought the thin cut chicken cutlets.] Peel back the top layer of plastic wrap and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over top and season with a little salt and pepper.

Transfer the chicken to the hot sauté pan, seasoned-side down, and cook on each side for about 2 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the arugula, with the juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of EVOO and a little bit of salt in a bowl. Remove chicken from the skillet and reserve on a plate while you make the sauce.

To the sauté pan add butter and melt. Add flour and cook for about a minute or so. Whisk in chicken stock and cream and bring up to a simmer to thicken. Remove from heat and add the pesto to the skillet. Stir to combine. Pour pesto gravy over the chicken and then top with the arugula. With a peeler shave some Parmigiano over the greens, season with a little salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Check out a few more pictures of the Balsamic Chicken:


  1. I remember making this one when it first came out - definitely on target with the 15 minutes, and yummy to boot. :)

  2. It's definitely going to be a weeknight staple for us.


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