Monday, January 09, 2017

Golden Globes Supper: Extra Shroomy!

Last night, I watched and live-blogged the Golden Globes on Facebook (as is my way). And for my special awards night supper, I created the best Alfredo dish I've ever made: Mushroom Pesto Alfredo with Three-Cheese Tortellini, Balsamic Mushrooms, and Fresh Spinach. MMM!!!

This is going to be a little hard to recreate because of one ingredient. Like an episode of Co-Op Chopped, I ended up with local mushrooms and spinach in my basket the other day, and something from the 50% off markdown bin (always a trove of tasty treasures!)--mushroom pesto. Of course, you may omit that in the Alfredo sauce, but it won't be as lusciously earthy and shroomy. Good luck finding some, though. Try your fancy food stores and/or health food stores. Or make your own!

Mushroom Alfredo Tortellini with Fresh Spinach

Mushroom Pesto Alfredo:
4 tablespoons butter
2 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (up to 2 cups)
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons prepared mushroom pesto

Balsamic Mushrooms:
2 tablespoons bacon fat
1/2 onions, thinly sliced or diced
1 lb. crimini mushrooms, washed and cut into chunks (or thickly sliced)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

1 family-sized package refrigerated three-cheese tortellini

1 (or 2) cups chopped fresh spinach

In a medium sauce pan on low heat, melt butter and cream cheese. Add the half-and-half and granulated garlic and whisk until smooth. Cook over low heat, whisking frequently, for about 15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Add the seasoned salt, pepper, cayenne, and Parmesan. Whisk until smooth, and cook on low for a few more minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in the mushroom pesto. (Thin the sauce with more half-and-half or milk if it gets too thick.)

Meanwhile, to a large skillet over medium heat, add the bacon fat (or butter or olive oil or a mix of the two), then saute the onions and mushrooms until tender and the mushrooms start to brown. Add the minced garlic and dried thyme and cook for another couple of minutes. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and season the cooked mushrooms to taste with salt and pepper.

Lastly, cook the tortellini according to package instructions and drain. Mix the pasta with the Alfredo sauce, the balsamic mushrooms, and the spinach. Garnish with more Parmesan before serving.

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