I love cooking a big Sunday meal for everyone. Growing up Southern, Sundays meant getting up early and heading to church. Then we'd head home and my Gram would make an early dinner. Usually those meals were her chicken fried steak, greens, potatoes, biscuits, and if I was lucky she'd make my favorite fried apple hand pies.
But in my household now, most of us are vegetarians and I am gluten-free. Our meals are a little lighter but just as much fun. I like to make a nice main dish and then top that off with a fruit salad or a light sweet dessert.
When I started making this dish I wasn't gluten-free. But it is still one of our house favorites. So as a treat, I do go to the specialty stores like Whole Foods or our local PCC market and I can get gluten-free pasta there that is fresh and very good. So if you are gluten-free, please feel free to sub the pasta for your favorite gluten-free version.
Here’s a quick dish that will delight not only vegetarians but everyone!
1 lb fresh broccoli florets – All out? Frozen will do. Just defrost them first by running under warm water.
16 oz fresh cheese Tortellini
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 cups milk
- 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese PLUS ¼ cup extra for the top.
- Cook your broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes if fresh, 4 minutes if frozen. Add your pasta and cook 3-5 more minutes until tender. Drain and put it in a large bowl.
- Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long.
- Prepare pasta as directed on package.
- Pour Alfredo sauce and 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese into a small saucepan; cook over medium – low heat. You want your cheese to melt and your sauce to be warm and bubble. Don’t let it stick, so stir it often. Pour your cheese mixture over the pasta and mix well to evenly coat your pasta and broccoli. Top with your remaining cheese.
** Why not try the left-over as a cold pasta salad?