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Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

During the wintertime, hearty meals such as soups, stews, and plates of pasta really hit the spot. One of my favorite gambits, of course, is the use of a variety of pastas with Al Fredo sauce accompanied with tasty morsels of meat such as Italian seasoned chicken mixed with cheesy tortellini. Here's my sweet wife's quick-to-the-table version. Try it. You'll like it


This dish can bring smiles to your sweetie on Valentine's Day. I plan to surprise my honey by serving her own great recipe. The whole family will cheer ...it's a favorite!

Bon appetit~!


M's Chicken-Tortellini Al Fredo

Ingredients:


* 2 pkgs. Three Cheese Tortellini pasta (22 oz. each)
* Water as required per pasta preparation directions
* 2 jars Al Fredo sauce (19 oz. each)
* 3 lbs. chicken tenders
* 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
* 1 Tbsp. Basil (dried)
* 1 tsp. Red Pepper flakes
* 1 tsp. Black pepper, ground
* 2 Tbsp. Parsley (dried)
* 1 bunch green onions, bulb and leaves, slice in rather small pieces
* 1 tsp. ground Nutmeg


Instructions:

    1. Prepare chicken tenders. Whisk together Italian seasoning, basil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Rinse and pat dry chicken tenders. Add to spice mixture and evenly coat all pieces.
    2. Put tenders on a baking sheet or broiler pan. Place pan on middle rack in oven. Broil a few minutes until golden brown on top. Remove pan, turn each tender, and return to oven. When the second side has browned, the tenders should be cooked through. Timing depends on your oven.
    3. Cut cooked tenders as necessary to a uniform size of about 1" to 1.5".
    4. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Tortellini does not usually take much time. My pasta was ready in three minutes. Use a large stewpot as you will be adding chicken and sauce.
    5. While pasta is cooking, heat the Al Fredo sauce in a saucepan. Stir in nutmeg. Heat over medium heat and stir often to prevent scorching.
    6. Drain tortellini, reserving a cup of pasta water. Add cooked chicken tenders to a large stewpot with tortellini. Add heated Al Fredo sauce.
    7. Add green onions, tops and bulbs, and dried parsley. Gently stir chicken tenders, tortellini, and sauce so as not to tear pasta.
    8. Over medium heat, allow the dish to blend flavors for about 5 minutes, making sure pasta does not overcook. If Al Fredo sauce is too thick still, add reserved pasta water in small increments of a Tablespoon at a time. Milk can be used but should not be added cold. Heat about a half cup in microwave, adding in small increments.


    Serve. Delicious with a crisp salad and a crusty Italian loaf heated in your oven.


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