All four of us love spicy food, and if you do too, you’ll know how annoying it is that most things marked “spicy” in restaurants are really fairly bland. After many frustrating Italian restaurant visits (thank goodness for Tiramisu), Robin and Barry decided to come up with their own perfect pasta. Barry tinkered in the kitchen, ending up with a hybrid of some favorite Italian dishes. This creamy, savory pasta is serious comfort food. And the best part is, we can set some aside for the kids — or guests with low-spice-tolerant palates — and (cayenne!!!) pepper our portions to our hearts’ content.
4-6 chicken tenders, depending on size, diced
1/4 cup canned sliced mushrooms, drained (we use Giorgio)
1/2 cup dry, julienned sun dried tomatoes (thoroughly rinsed if packed in oil)*
1 15-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, then quartered
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cloves minced fresh garlic (could use jarred garlic, but we prefer fresh)
3 T. butter
1 15-oz. jar roasted garlic Alfredo sauce (We use Classico)
1 ½ cups finely shredded parmesan cheese
⅓ cup milk
¼ to ¾ tsp. of cayenne pepper, aka “red pepper” (depending on heat preference)
8 oz. farfalle (bowtie pasta) — half the box of Barilla that we usually use
3-4 sliced green onions
Prepare farfalle per box instructions.
In a small pot, put all sauce ingredients on low heat, stir occasionally while preparing chicken portion (be sure not to let it stick).
In a large skillet heat butter and garlic on low. Add chicken and Italian seasoning. Increase heat to medium. When chicken begins to brown, add mushrooms, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes, heat on medium high for two to three minutes. Add sauce. Simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.
Serve over farfalle; top with green onions. We like to add a little more ground cayenne pepper too, both for a touch of color and, of course, some spice.