Saturday, June 25, 2011

"What Can You Make from the Dregs of Your Fridge?" Round Two (Double Jeopardy)

Friday night, and I just couldn't face another delivery of pizza. So once again, I found myself peering into the fridge, wondering what gourmet meal might be hidden in there, disguised in plastic containers and half-empty jars of God-knows-what. I had bought a large package of fresh chicken and rosemary tortellini (Buitoni--I had only tried the three cheese before this) that had been in the fridge for a few days and needed to be cooked--or frozen. But what to put on it? Alfredo sounded perfect, especially since I had several cheeses on hand (cream cheese, parmesan and sharp provolone). Here's my favorite Alfredo recipe, tweaked a bit:

Alfredo Sauce

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon cream cheese (I used two this time!)
1 cup half-and-half (I probably used 1 1/4 cups to thin out this extra cheesy sauce)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly-grated
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
*I also added a half cup of finely-shredded aged provolone, a good bit of black pepper, and a generous tablespoon of chopped parsley.

In a saucepan, melt butter. When butter is melted, add the cream cheese. When the cream cheese is softened, add half-and-half and the parmesan (and provolone) cheese(s). Add garlic powder (and black pepper) and stir well. Simmer this for 15-20 minutes on low. Then stir in the chopped fresh parsley before serving.

Since the tortellini already had chicken in it, I forewent any additional protein(s), but I did want something "meaty" on top. In the fridge, I found an eight-ounce package of sliced baby bella mushrooms that was slightly past its prime, along with half a jar of roasted red peppers that I chopped up (probably should have sliced them instead...oh well). I sauteed the mushrooms in a large frying pan in a little butter and olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes, some black pepper, and then added the red peppers and a couple of cloves' worth of minced garlic. When the mushrooms were tender, I finished them off with a generous tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and then let it all reduce a bit while I prepared the pasta according to the package directions.

I must say, this hodge-podge dish was so easy and SO TASTY and certainly ran circles around our typical Friday night pizza delivery!

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