Chicken Alfredo Puff Pastry Pie
You have to think outside the pasta box
I’m a fan as anyone of buying things in a jar that will make my life in the kitchen easier and better. That’s why, even if I have made it in the past with quite underwhelming results, I will refrain to excellent store bought Marinara sauces. There are a bunch of good options out there, using honest, clean and organic ingredients, and they are truly delicious!
When it comes to creamy sauces though, I have always been pretty skeptical. Dairy ingredients in a jar don’t necessarily scream to me good for you. Besides, it is so easy to make a creamy, cheese sauce in no time that, to be honest, I have never seen the value of it. I will always put my nose up over those jars when I’m walking down their aisle on the supermarket.
I was super excited when Bertolli approached me to try some of their sauces and share practical recipes with you guys that really make the most out of each sauce. If there are store bought products that I love because of their flavor, quality and ingredients are theirs. If you remember, I shared this Roasted Tomatoes And Balsamic Vinegar Onions Naan Bread Pizzas using the Bertolli Rustic Three Cheese Tomato Sauce and it was really a game changer, especially if you like your pizza with lots of fixings. My sister-in-law even told me that, coincidentally, that was her favorite sauce but she never thought on using it on a pizza for a change, which made total sense for her after reading the recipe. But to tell you the truth, I didn’t know what to expect with a creamy sauce. Would I love it as much as their other’s?
The time came to work with the Bertolli Organic Creamy Alfredo. I read the ingredients and everything checked with me. I open the jar, expecting that strong pungent smell of jarred cheese sauces and to my surprise the smell was soft and delicate. And when I finally tasted it I was converted. It tasted cheesy but mellow and it was so creamy without being greasy. I couldn’t believe it! Remember that scene in The Big Bang Theory when Sheldon “spent the night” with a Geology book? That would be an appropriate scene for this scenario as well : )
Now, how to put this sauce to good use? I didn’t want to make the traditional pasta Alfredo, especially because this sauce had too much potential for that. It’s very well balanced and delicate so you can easily infuse it with your favorite herbs and spices. That’s when I though of a chicken puff pastry pie!!! Instead of having to make a traditional Béchamel sauce from scratch, I though it would be genius to use this sauce instead. It’s just a matter of putting a few components together and voila! Or presto just to keep the Bertolli Italian flair…
The flavors here are delicate and herbal. I used sage and thyme, but you can certainly use other Mediterranean herbs such as tarragon, marjoram and herbs-de-provence for a Mediterranean profile as I did. Or use some paprika, oregano, red chili flakes and ground mustard seeds for a spicy and hot dish (damn, now I want to repeat this using those spicy notes).
I included some not-so-fancy pictures on how I was assembling the pie so you have an idea of what you should do during these steps.
The results were so delicious. The dough was puffed and crispy and I’m happy to report that the sauce kept its flavor and texture even after the baking process.
Have you already tried the Bertolli Organic Creamy Alfredo Sauce or are you new to it like me? I’m curious on what dishes would you create with it outside the pasta box. Let me know!
1. I used shallots to add some texture to the pie but you can certainly use any cooked vegetable that is not too watery, because it will ruin the texture of the sauce and the dough.
2. The idea of the cheese here is to protect the dough on the bottom and top from the liquids of the filling and getting soggy (not that you need a reason on why to add more cheese to anything, hehe!). I used grated Parmesan but you can use Asiago too.
3. If you have an 8” springform pan you don’t need to make the parchment paper process, just spray very well the inside of your pan with baking spray. I have a 9 ½” springform but I didn't want to make the pie that big, that’s why I came up with the idea of using parchment paper.
4. If the dough seams tear apart while you are stretching it, just wet your finger and press the seams back together. Dust a good amount of flour on top and press it. This should close the gap.
Chicken Alfredo Puff Pastry Pie
Olive oil – 1 cup
Freshly squeezed lemon juice – 2 TBSP
Fine sea salt – ¼ Tsp + a pinch
Fresh sage leaves – 4 to 6
Fresh thyme sprigs – 7 to 8
Chicken breasts – 3 to 4
Shallots, cut in half – ½ cup (see notes)
Bertolli Organic Alfredo Sauce – 1 cup, about half jar
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated – 1 cup
Freshly ground black pepper
Frozen puff pastry – 2 sheets
Some flour for working the dough
Beaten egg with a bit of water and a bit of any milk for egg wash
About 8 servings as main course or 10 as part of a dish
Total time - 3 hours, including time for marinating the chicken and time for chilling the pie Active time - 20 minutes of cooking, 15 minutes to work the dough
Special equipment - rolling pin, 8” springform pan or regular cake pan, parchment paper and/or cooking spray (see notes)
In a small to medium bowl mix the olive oil, lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Incorporate the sage and 6 thyme sprigs. Pour marinade on a large plastic freezer bag and place chicken breasts and shallots inside. Close tight and mix everything once more, giving the meat a massage. Extract as much air as you can from the bag and close tightly again. Chill for at least one hour.
In the meantime, prepare parchment paper by cutting each sheet to cover the bottom of your pan but leaving some paper on each side hanging out (see notes and reference pictures). Also take out the puff pastry from the freezer and place it on the fridge to thaw the puff pastry sheets, or in the counter if you are going to work with them relatively soon.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Pour marinade and place chicken breasts on skillet and bring liquid to gentle boil. Cook for about 6 minutes per side. Retire from heat and let the meat cool down for a couple of minutes. Shred each piece of chicken breast and place it in a bowl, the thinner the strands the better. Try to leave most of the liquid out. Pour over the Bertolli Organic Alfredo Sauce and sprinkle the remaining pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix everything together.
Arrange the cut parchment papers in the pan and spray it with some baking spray, especially the spots on the sides that the paper is not covering. Set aside.
Dust some flour on a clean flat surface. Dust a rolling pin and your hands with flour as well. Stretch one puff pastry sheet just to make it smoother on the seams and more malleable (see notes) and using a fork poke shallow holes on it. Transfer the dough to the pan and using a pairing knife cut out the excess hanging out of the pan. Use pieces of the remaining dough to cover any exposed areas on the inside wall of the pan. Sprinkle most of the Parmesan cheese on the bottom of the pan covering the dough to protect it from moist. Fill the pan with the chicken and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top. Fold inside any excess of dough on the sides. Stretch the second sheet and poke tiny holes through it as well. Place on top of the dough an 8” plate or the pan you are using (rub some flour on the down side before placing it over the dough) and using a pizza cutter or pairing knife cut an 8” circle. Place it on top of the pan and using your fingers tuck the dough edge between the side dough and the pan. You can use the back of a spoon to press the edge a bit more. Gently press the whole top down. Slit a small “x” on the center of the dough to let the steam out during baking. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°. Beat egg with a bit of water and a bit of any milk (I used almond milk).
Take pie out of the freezer and using a pastry brush smear the some egg wash to cover the exposed dough. Bake pie for 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let it cool down a few minutes before cutting and serving.