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
*The Bella Sun Luci sun-dried tomatoes pictured here are strongly recommended…far superior to those packed in oil both in terms of mess and flavor as far as we’re concerned, but if you’ve found a favorite that’s in oil, that’ll do too! We normally do fresh garlic, but this is the jarred brand we use if the pantry is lacking the fresh variety. If you’ve never bought fresh garlic, it keeps much longer than you’d think.
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.
At this point, it’s hard not to just eat this as is, but it’s worth the wait to put it all together.
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.