I love this dish because the tangy balsamic reduction lends a splash of brightness to the otherwise heavier cream sauce. The chicken is a lovely addition, but not necessary. You can also add a steamed vegetable like broccoli at the end. This is an easier way to make the cream sauce, as traditionally it is uncooked before it is added to the pasta.
4 chicken breasts
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Balsamic Reduction: 1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
Alfredo Sauce: 1 pound fresh or dried fettuccine pasta (noodles)
1 cube butter (4 oz) brought to room temp.
1 clove garlic, smashed with salt
⅔ cup heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan, grated
Salt and white pepper to taste
Marinate the chicken: place the chicken breasts in a plastic bag or bowl with the garlic and olive oil. Close up and marinate overnight. (If you don’t have the time, cut up the breasts, toss with the oil and garlic and allow to marinate for as long as possible.) Keep refrigerated until ready to cook.
Balsamic Reduction: In a small saucepan combine balsamic vinegar, garlic, by leaf and thyme. Simmer until it becomes a thickened syrup. (Be careful not to let it burn.) Remove from heat, and pick out the thyme stems or pour through a strainer. Cool and place into a squeeze bottle or gravy boat.
Cook Chicken: Place chicken breasts on a grill or in a frying pan and sear. Allow this to finish in a 300°F oven until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Cream Sauce: To make the sauce, beat the butter and smashed garlic (if using) until it is the consistency of frosting. Drizzle in as much cream as the emulsion will allow (it stays smooth) Sprinkle in ⅔ of the grated Parmesan. Adjust seasonings and set aside.
Cook the Pasta: Boil fresh pasta about 2 minutes, dry pasta about 8 minutes until al-dente. Drain and toss immediately with the sauce.
To Serve: Drizzle the reduction on the bottom of the plate. Top with a serving of pasta, then shingle the chicken breast on that. Top with the remaining Parmesan. You can serve the extra reduction on the side, if desired.