Chef Boy-ar-dee Was Da Man!


Pillows of meat and cheese floating in sauce. Before lobster ravioli in a cream sauce started making its rounds as a high-end entrée, we all had a very different kind of the dish – from a can. Ravioli in a can. My imaginary Italian grandmother (I am not the lease bit Italian) is rolling in her imaginary grave, but yes, many of us ate it. And who was the king of canned pasta? Chef Boy-ar-dee!

Whether it was canned spaghetti, beefaroni or ravioli, Chef Boy-ar-dee was da man! He helped make quick and easy lunches and dinners Italian for kids throughout the land. What you may not know is he was a real person.

Ettore Boiardi, an Italian immigrant, came to the United States when he was a teenager. He worked his way into the restaurant business and after opening his own restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, he found that his diners were begging to take some of his sauce home with them. This sparked an idea to can his sauce and pasta and sell it to the world.

Boiardi, knowing that many Americans would struggle to properly pronounce his name, used the Boy-ar-dee name to get the proper pronunciation, if not spelling. Bioardi eventually sold his company off and his likeness is still being used to this day.

Photo Jun 27, 5 32 28 PM

I think this dish would do the old chef proud.

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I used fresh ravioli from the refrigerated section.

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Frying the chicken bites.

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And the shrooms.

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With the sliced cherry tomatoes.

Photo Jun 27, 5 25 06 PMAnd the ravioli.

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A light and refreshing dish, and you don’t even have to open a can!

Skillet Chicken and Ravioli

Prep Time: 15 M | Cook Time: 15 M | Makes: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 9-ounce package small cheese ravioli
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, halved
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, basil or a combination


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook as the label directs; drain, then drizzle with olive oil and toss.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook, undisturbed, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and continue to cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and vinegar and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet, then add the ravioli, broth and parmesan; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Top with the parsley.

Per serving: Calories 457; Fat 17 g (Saturated 5 g); Cholesterol 121 mg; Sodium 537 mg; Carbohydrate 28 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 44 g


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Chicken2, Fried, Italian, kosher, Lunch3, Main Dish 3, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetable4

Author:The Ranting Chef

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One Comment on “Chef Boy-ar-dee Was Da Man!”

  1. June 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Very nice recipe. Is it okay that I keep it for my family collection?

    I did enjoy Chef Boyardee ravioli as a child, but, like most people, I grew out of it. I made ravioli (and pasta) by hand in cooking school and liked that more, even though making pasta by hand is a daunting task for weekend chefs and wannabes like myself. I’m 1/4 Italian. The experience didn’t bring me closer to my deceased great-grandmother, but I did, however, gain a newfound respect for Italian mothers and grandmothers who make pasta by hand.


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