Pesto Chicken with Cheese Tortellini

“pollo pesto con formaggio tortellini”

A flavorful way to have chicken tonight – Pesto Chicken with Cheese Tortellini is a quick fix using boneless chicken breasts, prepared basil pesto and dried cheese tortellini pasta.

I usually have boneless chicken breasts in my freezer. I love that our grocery stores are carrying flash-frozen meats in bulk. It makes it so easy to take out what you need. Our grocer is even carrying Tilapia this way and it’s really not much more expensive.

Basil pesto (store-bought or homemade) gives this chicken great flavor as the basil and garlic infuse into the chicken while it is cooking. Stove top cooking at its best in 30 minutes!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (if thick, pound thin or finish in oven).
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sprinkle of cheese for garnish
  • Salt and pepper quanto basta (as msliuch as needed; to taste)

Rinse and dry chicken. Slather each breast with the pesto and set aside.

Preheat large skillet over medium heat. (If you want to finish in oven, make sure you use an oven-safe skillet.)

Put on a large pot of salted water to boil for the tortellini.

Add olive oil to skillet and heat slightly.

Add chicken breasts to pan and brown on one side for 4-5 minutes. Don’t mess with them. 🙂 Let the chicken cook slowly on one side until you can see the edges turning white.

When one side is brown, turn and brown the other side and cook and until chicken is firm and cooked through, cooking slowly so the chicken doesn’t dry out. (If your chicken is thick, after second side is browned, you can slide your skillet into the oven at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes to finish cooking.)

While the chicken is finishing, put 1 pound of cheese tortellini in pot of boiling water. Cook until tender, drain and set aside. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together.

When chicken is done cooking, remove from pan and set aside. Cover with foil to keep it warm and let it rest while you make a little sauce.

On low heat, add 1-1/2 cups broth to the the pan drippings. Scrape bottom of pan. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Simmer until liquid has reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat. (You can substitute 1/2 cup dry, white wine for 1/2 cup of the broth, if desired.)

To serve your pesto chicken with cheese tortellini, put tortellini in a shallow serving bowl or platter, slice and place chicken breasts atop and pour sauce over all.

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