A thirty-minute, one pot, simple dinner. Pesto chicken and sun-dried tomatoes tossed with tortellini and fresh basil.
My sister recently graduated from high school (WAHOO!) and came over one afternoon to play with Grey and hang out for a bit. Naturally, I had to make sure she was well fed and so I made her this dish for lunch.
Let me just tell you, I’ve never seen her eat so much in one sitting. Ever. And a direct quote from this sister: “This is the best thing you’ve ever made!” Bold words, but man this dish is good!
Since there weren’t any leftovers from that lunch, I had to make sure to make it for the husband and he too went nuts over it. A meal that can be made in one pot, under thirty minutes, and make a crowd go crazy? Yes, this is the dish!
Also it has tortellini which is an absolute favorite of mine. I mean pasta is crazy good, but when you can have pasta filled with cheese? Yeah that is pure genius right there!
The first step to making this dish is to cook the tortellini. To stay true to a quick prep time, I get the frozen tortellini that is done in about 3-5 minutes of boiling. So get your water to a boil an add in the tortellini.
While the water is heating up and the tortellini is cooking, the prep on the rest of the meal can be done. The chicken just needs to be chopped into bite sized pieces and lightly floured. I mixed some flour + paprika + salt and pepper and toss the chicken in that mixture. Doing this tiny step adds a whole lot to the flavor and texture of the chicken. Also, if you have time (and think about dinner before it’s dinner-time) marinating the chicken in buttermilk makes the chicken super tender.
Next up is the dried tomatoes – coarsely chop the tomatoes and they are ready to go. I like the tomatoes that are marinating in an oil mixture best. They are super tender, full of flavor, and very fresh tasting. Opt for those over the dried ones in a bag (that don’t have oil). I even like to add a little bit of that oil from the tomatoes to the dish just for a tiny bit of extra flavor!
For this dish, I used a pre-made pesto. If you want to make your own, I’m sure it will taste even better, but that does add a bit to prep time to this meal and slightly lengthens your shopping list. Whatever you prefer though! I will say, if you are using a store-bought pesto, be choosey in the one you get. I’ve gotten some off brand and cheaper pestos that are really gross. My favorite kind of pesto is by Classico which is what we always get. It’s usually right next to the spaghetti sauces in the grocery isle. It’s super chunky and the flavor is spot on. When pesto is the star of this dish, you want to make sure it’s a good one! 🙂
Anyways once that tortellini is finished cooking, it get’s drained and you can cook the chicken in the same pot. Once the chicken is all cooked through (which only takes a few minutes), add the tortellini back in, the chopped tomatoes, and the pesto. A little bit of olive oil + some spices and dinner is ready to be served.
Oh yeah, and if you have fresh basil, that’s always a delicious garnish. Plus, isn’t basil just the prettiest?!
- 1 package (19 ounces) frozen cheese tortellini
- 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts* ~2 small
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto sauce
- Optional: red pepper flakes, fresh basil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Follow package directions to cook tortellini and then drain.
Meanwhile, prep the chicken. Remove any fat and cut into small bite sized pieces.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, paprika, and some salt and pepper. Toss the chicken pieces to coat in the flour mixture.
Prep the tomatoes: Remove from the olive oil and coarsely chop the tomatoes and then set aside.
In the same pot used to cook the tortellini (must be a nonstick pot) add in the olive oil and minced garlic. Stir on medium heat for about 20 seconds and then add in the chicken pieces. Cook the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink inside.
Add the tortellini back in with the chicken and reduce the heat to low.
Stir in the basil pesto sauce and the coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes.
If desired, add 1-2 tablespoons of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes container. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (start with 1/4 teaspoon and increase) if desired for a little bit of heat.
Shred some fresh basil to stir in the dish if desired. You can also add some parmesan cheese if desired.
If you have time, I highly recommend marinating your chicken in buttermilk for at least 4-6 hours. If you don't have buttermilk, take 1 cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then mix in with your chicken. This creates super tender chicken!
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