Yesterday I decided to tackle something new in the kitchen. I attempted to make vodka sauce and pair it with chicken parmigiana.

Normally I just heat up a grocery store brand of marinara sauce before mixing it with the cooked pasta, but over the past few months I've been taking cooking lessons from a dear friend so I wanted a challenge.

She had shared a great Ina Garten recipe for vodka sauce with me, which we had made once at her house, and I wanted to replicate it. Knowing the recipe yields 4-5 servings, I cut it in half.

After preheating the oven, I chopped half an onion, 2-3 cloves of garlic and sauteed them in a sauce pan with olive oil. I then added half a cup of vodka and reduced it by half. Next I modified the recipe a bit, by using one jar of Muti tomato puree. I added this with salt and pepper to the sauce, and placed the lid on the pan and put it in the oven for an hour and a half.

In my downtime, I shredded the parmesan cheese and played Sim City. Then I began more prep.

I've been utilizing Bobby Flay's chicken parmigiana recipe as a guide for the past couple of years, so I gathered everything I needed to start on the chicken before I pulled the sauce out of the oven. I knew it needed to cool before adding cream and re-heating.

While the sauce was cooling from the oven, I filled my pasta pot with water and a pinch of salt, put a lid on it, to bring it to a boil faster, and started preparing the chicken.

Bobby Flay pounds the chicken flat, then dredges it through flour, eggs and panko, each of those steps include salt and and pepper. It takes only a couple of minutes in a hot pan on the stove to cook the outside of the chicken, then it goes onto a baking sheet with mozarella cheese, basil and a little of your sauce. Then it goes into the oven for 5-8 minutes.

So the trick is to have everything ready at the same time. The linguini takes about ten minutes to cook, the chicken is about a ten minute process and the sauce needs to simmer with the cream for about ten minutes. So here's what I did.

I put the sauce back on the stove, and added the heavy cream to my desired consistency. Once the pasta water is boiling, I add the linguini into the pot and I continue to monitor and stir it while I cook the chicken in the pan. I have a separate bowl ready for the pasta and sauce to combine in when ready.

As the chicken is ready in the pan, it then goes onto the baking sheet with sauce, cheese and basil. The sauce is still simmering, and I'm stirring it occasionally while tasting the pasta for the right texture.

When the linguini is the right texture, I drain the pasta water and put the pasta in the waiting glass bowl. I then ladle out the vodka sauce onto the pasta and mix the two, before placing a lid on top to contain the heat.

At this point the chicken is ready to be removed from the oven, served with the pasta, and topped with a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese.