Pull out the grill! This Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Burst Tomatoes is one tasty summer recipe!
Can we talk about cooking pasta for a second? We all know how to cook pasta, right? You bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the pasta in, set a kitchen timer and let it cook. Then just drain the pasta and you’re all set. Well, sorta. As simple as it is to boil a pot of pasta, I’ve picked up a couple of secret tips over the years.
The first tip to making great pasta is to salt the pasta water. A chef friend of mine used to say that pasta water should taste like the ocean. As she was professionally trained in Italy, I trust her advice when it comes to pasta! (She also recommended waiting until the water came to a boil before adding the salt…just FYI.)
That whole thing about salted water boiling faster? It’s a lie. Sorta. It takes an ounce of salt to lower the boiling temperature by 1°F. So if you want to add a pound of salt to your water, then it might speed things up. But eating that pasta might taste a bit like a horse licking a salt block out in the field. How’s that for a mental image? Oh, and use sea salt or kosher salt. Regular table (iodized) salt will give your pasta a funky, metallic taste.
The second tip is to save some of the pasta water. Yes, that murky, salty water is as valuable as gold…save it! (Well, maybe it’s not as valuable as gold, but it’s still worth saving.) If you’re adding a sauce to the pasta, then the best bet is to actually undercook the pasta by about 2 minutes. Then just finish cooking the pasta in the sauce with a couple tablespoons of pasta water. This Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Burst Tomatoes doesn’t really have a sauce, so go ahead and cook the pasta fully. But still save the pasta water!
That starchy pasta water plays a huge role when it comes to pulling the whole dish together. Have you ever noticed that pasta (particularly long pasta like spaghetti) has the tendency to clump once you drain it. It sticks together in a gooey mass leaving you to wonder how to separate it back into strands of perfect pasta. Well the answer is pasta water!
If we could go back in time, we could bottle this stuff and sell at as a magical cure-all. Just transfer that cooked pasta into a large skillet and add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water. The starchy water will magically loosen the pasta again. Whenever we make pasta, we actually save a little container of pasta water in the fridge next to the leftovers. When it comes time to heat that pasta back up, guess what goes into the pan with the pasta? Yup, the pasta water! And that little trick avoids the dilemma of leftover pasta tasting like…well…leftover pasta.
Ok, I’m done with talking about pasta water. If you actually read all of that, then thank you. If you chose to scroll down here to the recipe, then I understand that, too. (Of course, you’ll see that I call out saving the pasta water in the recipe…but at least now you know why!)
This Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Burst Tomatoes is one excellent summer meal. The chicken is marinated in a balsamic vinegar marinade, so it keeps it nice and juicy once grilled. Not only do I love marinating chicken because it enhances the flavor, but it also gives me a little leeway once I put the chicken on the grill. If I get sidetracked and the chicken grills for a couple extra minutes, no problem. I mean I can’t come inside and watch an episode of Better Call Saul or anything, but still…the marinade helps keep the chicken juicy and flavorful.
I didn’t use a sauce for this Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Burst Tomatoes. Instead, as the name suggests, I simply stirred a bunch of burst cherry tomatoes into the pasta along with some fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese. The result is a delicious, summertime dinner! Enjoy, my friends!
Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Burst Tomatoes
For the Balsamic Chicken
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary minced
- 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
For the Pasta
- 2 10-oz. containers cherry tomatoes (I used 1 yellow and 1 red)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 16 oz. spaghetti or bucatini pasta
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves chopped
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
For the Balsamic Chicken
- Using a small bowl, whisk all Balsamic Chicken ingredients (except for chicken breasts) together.
- Place chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish. Add the marinade, turning to fully coat chicken breasts. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours up to overnight.
- Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Once preheated, grill chicken for 4-5 minutes per side, flipping once, or until fully cooked. Let chicken rest for 6-8 minutes before slicing.
For the Pasta
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using a medium bowl, add the tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper; toss until well coated.
- Spread the tomatoes onto a baking sheet and roast at 350°F for 35-40 minutes, or until they are just beginning to burst.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. (Tip: Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.)
- Using a deep sauté pan, add cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and 2-3 Tbsp of the reserved pasta water; stir until well combined.
- Transfer pasta to plates and top with sliced Balsamic Chicken before serving.