Chicken Bites and Cheese Tortellini

As Hubby and I went over our weekly grocery list, he asked why I had Cheese Tortellini on the list for Chicken Cheese Tortellini. Did I mean I wanted Chicken Tortellini? Nope.

Now I will confess, I had some doubt about putting bits of Chicken into a sauce for my Cheese Tortellini. Sometimes it’s best to just push through the doubt and move forward. You know me, I had to make some changes in the process. The original recipe did not season the chicken. Maybe once upon a time we didn’t need to season chicken breasts, but these days most chicken lacks flavor on its own. All the taste of chicken has been bred right out of the birds. (Another good reason to move to a farm where we can raise chickens). I can remember as a girl not wanting to eat the dark meat – it was strong – and a little too gamey. Now I prefer thighs to breasts. At first I thought it was because, as we mature in our culinary experiences, stronger flavors aren’t necessarily a bad thing – we learn to appreciate their character. But now I realize that is only part of the reason thighs appeal to me. The other is that, just as breasts (which began “mild” in the first place) have been bred almost to the point of tasteless, thighs have lost some of their gamey edge. So seasoning was a must in my opinion. The other change was adding just a little Ricotta Cheese to the sauce. Again, two reasons. First off, I just happen to have some in the refrigerator, so there was no need to buy a big tub of cheese for a few tablespoons. And secondly, the sauce needed a little thickening with maintaining its creamy goodness. The Ricotta might not be necessary. If you have another Italian Cheese laying about, by all means use it. And let me know how your rendition turns out.

Enough chitchat, let’s get to cooking, shall we? So would you like wine or coffee while we putter in the kitchen?

Chicken Bites and Cheese Tortellini
20 oz Three-Cheese Tortellini
2 boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 teaspoons Italian Seasoning or to taste
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
Handful Spinach Leaves
2 tablespoons Parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Flour
2 cups Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a full boil. Cook Tortellini al dente, according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

White the water boils and the pasta cooks, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Season with Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss pieces to coat, set aside.

Cut tomatoes in half, set aside. Pick over spinach for the most tender leaves, removing stems; set aside. Mince parsley for garnish, set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and just cooked through, about 6 minutes or so. Remove the chicken from the pan, wrap in foil and keep warm.

To the now empty skillet, add the butter to melt; whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes to create a roux, scraping up any browned bits to deepen to the flavor. Stir in the chicken stock and Ricotta cheese. Cook an additional 3 minutes or until slightly thickened and blended.

Add the al dente tortellini and sliced tomatoes to the pan, bring to a full simmer. Let cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat the tortellini with liquid. Stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan Cheese; simmer another minutes. Return chicken pieces to the pan along with any liquid that may have accumulate. Stir to blend, warm through. Scatter spinach, let simmer until the spinach begins to wilt, about a minute or so.

Remove from heat; sprinkle with parsley. Serve and enjoy. A nice simple salad rounds out this meal perfectly.

Teach me Your ways, O Lord

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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