Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Visiting Italy through a cookbook: Balsamic-Braised Chicken

What's new? Well.....we are on vacation. We always take the week of our anniversary off. Sometimes we spend time at the shore, sometimes just stay home and have many bike excursions to look for BBQ.....or just plain ride and enjoy. This year we are home....eating and drinking what we please :-0 Honestly, we need to win lottery to do this more often.

So, today I wanted to share this new cookbook I have with you.

Soon.......this Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian Cookbook will sadly lose its shiny new look. The luster of the cover, the rigid unbroken spine will revert to a much used and loved go-to book. The sort we pull off the shelves with a natural smile, anticipating the luscious meals to come. All inspired by a favorite cookbook.

My very thoughtful husband gave me this as a birthday gift and I can tell you, he will reap the benefits of the lovely recipes contained within this gem. You just can not go wrong with Williams-Sonoma.

The red wine and balsamic vinegar work in tandem to color and flavor this chicken. The color has been described as mahogany and the flavor...well, molto delizioso!

The taste is not too strong, just enough of the melding of balsamic and wine seeping into the chicken. When I saw the photo of this chicken paired up with risotto, well...had to have them both.

Recipes follow for both dishes.

Balsamic-Braised Chicken


. 1 chicken, about 3 lb., preferably free range, cut into 8 serving pieces (I used 8 chicken thighs)
. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
. 2 Tbs. olive oil
. 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
. 1 fresh rosemary sprig
. 1 cup dry red wine
. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and garlic and cook the chicken, turning as needed, until well browned on both sides, about 20 minutes total. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent the garlic from burning.

Tip the pan and spoon off the excess fat. Add the rosemary sprig, wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, until the chicken is opaque throughout when tested with a knife, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a warmed platter, cover and keep warm.

Raise the heat to high, bring the liquid to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced and has thickened, creating a flavorful pan sauce. Remove and discard the garlic cloves and the rosemary sprig. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately. I served with risotto.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone

For the Risotto, I want to direct you HERE for a recipe I modified. This is from the Essentials of Italian Cooking, I just modified it a bit but assure you, the fat juicy Arborio rice is luscious and perfect pairing with the balsamic chicken.

I know I am not in the minority when it comes to Williams-Sonoma products....I bet many of you enjoy the cookbooks, stores and culinary delectables they sell as well.

Hope you enjoyed this sampling as much as I enjoyed preparing it.

Buon Appetito!


  1. sounds like a great "trip" to italy!! yum!

  2. I have that lottery-winning-wish-envy too. How wonderful that you can take a week of and just be together whether it's at home or on a great trip. This recipe sounds amazing!

  3. What a great idea and I am loving this recipe.
    I love the pic of Kobe and Aja. We have a grandpuppy Shiba, Takara. She's a sweetheart and keeps our 2 black labs in line.


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