NEW ORLEANS —
Tortellini Alfredo Soup
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. chicken thighs or breasts, boneless cut into cubes
1 tsp. Creole seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
9 oz. cheese tortellini, frozen or fresh
2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 oz fresh spinach
Green onions and parsley for garnish
In a large pot over medium-high heat add the butter. Add the onion and carrots. Cook the vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the chicken, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and veggies. Stir to coat and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes to cook out the floury taste. Stir in the chicken stock, half-and-half and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking until the soup thickens, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add tortellini to the pot and cook until al dente, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle a handful of cheese over the soup and stir. Once it has melted into the soup, add another handful. Stir in spinach, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary. Pour into bowls and garnish with the green onions and parsley.
Easy Focaccia Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. instant yeast
2 cups lukewarm water, made by combining 1/2 cup boiling water with 1 1/2 cups cold water
butter for greasing
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
flaky sea salt
1 to 2 tsp. Italian seasoning or rosemary
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the liquid is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. Rub the surface of the dough lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator immediately for at least 12 hours or for as long as three days. If you do not slick the dough with enough oil, you risk the dough drying out and forming a crust over the top layer.
Line two a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper or grease with butter or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour 2 tablespoons of oil in the 9×13-inch pan. Using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl in quarter turns as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball. Place into the prepared pan. Roll the dough ball in the oil to coat it all over. Let the dough balls rest for 3 to 4 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 425 degrees. Sprinkle Italian seasoning or rosemary over the dough. Pour two tablespoons olive oil over dough. Rub your hands lightly in the oil to coat, then, using all of your fingers, press straight down to create deep dimples. If necessary, gently stretch the dough as you dimple to allow the dough to fill the pan. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt all over.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the underside is golden and crisp. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the focaccia to a cooling rack. Let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
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