Carmela & Gabriella’s Cream Sauce

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 Cooking

Carmela & Gabriella’s Cream Sauce

with Tortellini, Chicken, Mushrooms and Peas

Tortellini

Ingredients

1-Tablespoon butter

1-Tablespoon olive oil

1-Garlic clove

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

2-Tablespoons flour

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.

Sliced Chicken

Baby Bella Mushrooms

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.

Melting Butter

Seasoned Butter

Cream Sauce Cooking

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).

Cream Sauce Cooking

Everything Cooking

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!

Cream Sauce with Peas & Mushrooms

Carmela & Gabriella's Cream Sauce

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!

Laura's Bachelorette Party
Laura’s Bachelorette Party
Maegan's Bachelorette Party
Maegan’s Bachelorette Party
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Lucia’s Quick Cheese Sauce

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be a part of my friend Tim’s wedding in South Bend!  He is my first close friend to get married and it was so exciting to be able to celebrate with some old (and great!) friends! After the wedding on Sunday I decided to spend the morning walking around South Bend with my friend Ryan since it was a perfect Fall day and I had some time to kill before I headed back to Chicago to watch the Colts game (which I wish I had not experienced…).

Congratulations Tim and Allison!

What’s a wedding without someone getting “ICED?”


Ryan and “Touchdown Jesus”


A cool picture from Notre Dame (I love my iPhone apps!)

When I got home from the wedding weekend I was exhausted and had no food in my apartment except for the basic staples every little Italian  always has on hand; cheese, pasta, and chicken stock/bouillon. I sat on the couch for hours trying to find a recipe that I wanted to make and that included ingredients I had in my kitchen, which was few and far between considering I had not gone to the grocery store in about a month….I even called my sister to see if she had any good ideas and it turns out she was doing the exact same thing I was. Laying on the couch, watching the Colts game and reading cookbooks. I love when we are creepily alike (if you watch us dance we will more than likely be doing the same moves too).

I decided to wing it and make something up on my own. I did this when I was in Italy on more than one occasion and decided to get back to my creative cooking. A few time in Italy I mad a cheese sauce that was so good, it was to die for. My cousin Michael went home raving about, my friend Lauren begged me to make once we were back in America, and Laura and I enjoyed it frequently. When I got home from Italy and tried to recreate the sauce, I just couldn’t do it. I have no clue what kind of cheese I put in there, how I got it to melt together so perfectly, but I never made it again because it just never turned out the same.

This time, it didn’t turn out the same, but it was delicious! Check out the recipe and photos below!

Lucia’s Cheese Sauce


Ingredients:

3 cups Chicken Stock

3/4 cup skim milk

Fontina Cheese (no clue how much I used…eyeball it!)

1 cup Mozzarella Cheese

2 pieces Skinny Cow Cheese

1 tbsp Cream Cheese

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

Pepper to taste

1 tsp Parsley

1 tsp Basil

In a sauce pan, mix the chicken stock and cheese. Melt cheese and bring to a slow boil. Add in the milk, flour, pepper, basil and parsley. Heat on high until sauce thickens and all the cheese is melted. Once sauce comes to a slow boil, decrease the heat and cook on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often.

While the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta. Once sauce is finished, drain pasta and pour into the sauce. Sprinkle with Some Parmesan and enjoy!

Cheese Sauce

Lucia’s Cheesy Pasta!