Life is a combination of magic and pasta - Federico Fellini
When my two younger cousins, Carmela and Gabriella, asked if they could stay the night with me a few weekends ago and hang out, I couldn’t wait. I was really excited to spend some quality time with them and to learn more about their lives. It’s easy to forget what high school is really like until you have two young girls in the midst of it, telling you stories. I was glad I was able to share some insight (which did make me feel older than I would like) on boys, friends, college, etc.
Sometimes we forget how scary growing up can be, and it was nice to be able to look back on my high school and college days and confidently tell them that it really will all work out in the end…and to just have fun while you get through all the “growing up.”
After we ate the amazing Flying Cupcakes they brought over after work (oh to have the metabolism of a 15-year-old girl again…), we decided to make dinner together. Carmela’s Dad owns a pizza place here in Indy (Enzo’s Pizza) and her family is from Sicily, so she definitely likes to cook!
The girls requested a cream sauce with Tortellini, so I thought it would be fun to come up with our own version (hence the name). After picking a few key ingredients, we headed to the kitchen to have a fun little cooking adventure!
Carmela handled the chicken and mushrooms, while I taught Gabriella how to make sauce. This was Gabriella’s first time making a sauce, so I let her takeover for a little bit. I understood how to cook by watching my Mom while I was growing up, but I really learned how to cook by doing it on my own, with a little bit of guidance.
Carmela & Gabriella’s Cream Sauce
with Tortellini, Chicken, Mushrooms and Peas
1-Tablespoon olive oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 ½ Cup heavy whipping cream
1½ Cup of chicken broth (use “better than bouillon” to make your broth)
Red Pepper, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste
1-Bag of frozen peas
1-package of baby Bella Mushrooms
3 pieces of thinly sliced chicken breast
David Page’s Special Seasoning
Boil a pot of water and add the bouillon base as directed on the package. Once the bouillon is finished, set aside.
Season chicken with David Page’s Special seasons and slice into small pieces. Heat skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and add chicken. Cook half way and add in the mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms and chicken are cooked thoroughly.
While you are cooking the chicken, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the garlic clove and salt and pepper. Once the butter has melted and the garlic is translucent, add 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of chicken broth.
Season with Garlic Powder, Red Pepper flakes and Parmesan Cheese to taste, and let simmer for about 15 minutes while stirring constantly. If the sauce needs to be thickened add about 1-Tablespoon of flour and some more cheese.
Bring sauce to a boil for about 5 minutes and then turn down the heat to simmer. Continue to stir for about 20 minutes (add in more cream and more chicken broth, as needed).
After about 20 minutes, add the frozen peas, mushrooms and chicken to the sauce and continue cooking until the peas are cooked and the sauce is at the desired consistency.
While your sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Once the water is at a rapid boil, add the tortellini and cook until finished (once the Tortellini all rises to the top of the pot it is cooked).
Mix the tortellini with the sauce in a serving dish, sprinkle on some Parmesan Cheese and serve!
I was actually surprised how delicious the sauce ended up being. I hadn’t made a cream sauce in a very , very long time (dairy is my new enemy) so I was feeling a little shaky on my delivery.
I had to add a little more flour than I would have liked because I wanted to use as little cream as possible, but in a cream sauce that is kind of difficult!
After making Pasta with Carmela, I decided we have to make Pizza together, and soon! Or Bread with my Grandma…Two of my very best friends are getting married in April and May, so I haven’t had enough time to plan our next cooking adventure with all the wedding celebrations lately. Hopefully there will be some time in early April!
Below are two pictures from my weekends in Chicago and Austin celebrating the Brides-to-Be!