Chicken Tortellini Alfredo

This rich, creamy chicken alfredo pasta is an easy upgrade to busy weeknights thanks to store-bought cheese tortellini. Egg yolks aren’t traditional in Alfredo sauce recipes, but they’re key to this version’s extra silky and luscious texture; generous lemon zest, black pepper, and fresh herbs cut through the richness. Use any kind of tortellini that you like, or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to make this recipe even easier.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is Alfredo sauce?
Alfredo sauce is a classic cream sauce that’s made with butter, Parmesan cheese, and often heavy cream. It’s named for Italian restaurateur Alfredo Di Lelio, who served fettuccine in a sauce of cheese and butter at his family’s restaurant in Rome. Heavy cream was likely an American addition, and these days Alfredo sauce is more popular in the U.S. than in Italy. For this rich pasta dish, Parmesan cheese and cream are emulsified with starchy pasta water to create a glossy, creamy sauce that’s served with fettuccine.

Why add egg yolk to Alfredo sauce?
Adding and tempering egg yolks into Alfredo sauce helps to thicken the sauce and adds another layer of richness. Tempering means you’re slowly combining cold egg yolks with hot liquid to ensure they don’t scramble, first off the heat and then in a hot skillet. Whisking constantly and combining the egg yolks with the hot cream mixture a little at a time are critical to a silky sauce.

Notes from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen
You’ll want to make sure the cheese is finely grated so it emulsifies into the sauce without clumping. To grate your own, cut a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano into small chunks and pulse in a food processor until it forms small pebbles. If you have it, use a flat whisk to stir the pasta sauce, which will also help prevent clumps. 

Make ahead
The tortellini can be boiled, drained, spread on a sheet pan to cool completely, and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week before stirring into the sauce. The chicken breast can be cooked in advance and stored in an airtight container for up to three days. We recommend making and serving the final dish right away, as the sauce will dry out.
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cooking water

2 (9-ounce) packages refrigerated three-cheese tortellini (such as Buitoni)

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

4 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)

3 cups cubed or torn cooked chicken breast (about 14 ounces)

2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

Black pepper

Local Offers
00000 Change
Oops! We cannot find any ingredients on sale near you. Do we have the correct zip code?
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high; season generously with salt. Add tortellini, and cook for 1 minute less than package directions, about 4 minutes. Remove 1 cup cooking water from pot, and set aside; drain remaining water. Set tortellini aside.

Place egg yolks in a medium bowl; add 3/4 teaspoon salt, and whisk to loosen. Set aside. Melt butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cream, and bring to a simmer over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low. Using a large spoon in one hand and a whisk in other hand, add some of simmering cream to egg yolk mixture, and whisk constantly to temper eggs. Add another spoonful of hot cream to egg mixture, and continue to whisk constantly. Repeat process until eggs are liquidy and bowl is hot. Add egg mixture to skillet with remaining cream mixture. Cook over medium, stirring often, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time, until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Remove cream mixture from heat; add chicken and cooked tortellini, stirring until combined. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup reserved cooking water until desired consistency is reached, adding more reserved cooking water as needed. Sprinkle with parsley, thyme, lemon zest, and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Close Menu