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Seared Chicken Breasts alla Vodka Sauce

We were craving our Vodka sauce – which isn’t just for penne, folks! – and in our busy household, we’re also big fans of one-skillet meals. So even though it’s high Summer, we decided to create a main dish with a lighter saucier version of our creamy vodka sauce, with chicken, fresh tomatoes, and basil. We love how it turned out, we think you will too!

3 to 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-3 tablespoons of olive oil.
1 jar of Due Cellucci Vodka Sauce
1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth
4-6 strips of smoky bacon, diced (or about 3/4 cup of cubed pancetta)
1 large onion, diced
3-6 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup of vodka OR 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (for added tangy zing!)
1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves, torn
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste

1) In large cast iron or skillet, add in the olive oil. Medium heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides, place into heated skillet. Let chicken get a nice sear, don’t move them for about 3-5 minutes. Lift a breast to check to see if nicely browning, then flip all breasts to other side and leave for another 3-5 minutes. Always check flame is not too high. Chicken does not have to be cooked through, just a light brown sear on both sides. Take chicken breasts out of pan and set aside.

2) In same skillet, sauté the diced bacon or pancetta to a light brown/light crisp.

3) Add in the diced onion and sauté on medium, to a soft translucent brown, about 5-8 minutes, keep stirring.

4) Add in minced garlic, cook for another minute or so.

5) Add in a jar of Due Cellucci Vodka Sauce and one cup of chicken broth, stir well for a minute on medium low flame. Season with salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Taste for all seasoning. (*Keeping in mind that bacon and broth impart some sodium too). Add in the fresh Vodka OR red wine vinegar, give a good stir for another minute.

6) Place the chicken breasts (and any resting juices) into the simmering sauce, allowing tops of chicken to remain exposed. Lower flame and cover. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes on low (or until chicken is cooked depending on how thick the breasts are).

7) Sprinkle the halved cherry tomatoes around the chicken breasts and half of the torn basil, cover and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Reserve the rest of basil for garnish.

8) Over pappardelle pasta or polenta, spoon a generous amount of sauce and place each chicken breast, sliced, on top. Garnish each plate with rest of torn basil. Feel free to add more red pepper flakes too!