Monday, September 14, 2020

Chicken Pesto Pasta (Tortellini Recipe) + Video

Chicken Pesto Pasta is a quick, 10-minute dinner recipe. Chicken, tortellini, pesto and tomatoes burst with flavor in this tortellini recipe.

Chicken Pesto Pasta Tortellini Recipe

I love using tortellini as the base for a quick dinner. There are so many different ways to use it that I never run out of meal ideas.

You should definitely try my Pizza Tortellini Pasta Salad. It's a blend of your favorite pizza toppings in a fabulously zesty and tangy summer pasta salad.

Or, my Muffaletta Tortellini Salad is an easy recipe that you'll be making all year long.

This Greek Tortellini Pasta Salad is almost perfect, add a sweet and tangy dressing to the mix and you have yourself a must-try meal!

Ingredinets for Chicken Pesto Pasta: tortellini, tomatoes, chicken and pesto

How to Make Chicken Pesto Pasta

This chicken tortellini recipe starts with frozen tortellini, leftover cooked chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, and delicious basil pesto.

In this perfect weeknight meal, nutty pesto and sweet tomatoes come together to create the most magnificent sauce. Quick, simple, and scrumptious.

Even better, it comes together in about 10 minutes! It's the perfect busy weeknight recipe.

If you want a creamy chicken pesto pasta, you can try adding a bit of heavy cream or a few tablespoons of cream cheese. The final result is a creamy pesto sauce that is a bit similar to an Alfredo sauce.

Kitchen Equipment

You only need a couple of simple kitchen tools to make this recipe.

Pesto Tortellini in a Dutch oven

Ingredients for the tortellini recipe

  • frozen cheese tortellini
  • cooked chicken - using leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken would be perfect for this!
  • cherry tomatoes
  • basil pesto

Will premade pesto work?

While you can use a jarred basil pesto from the store, I really recommend using homemade pesto. It tastes better and it's easy to make.

Plus, it's the perfect flavor combination for this Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe.

What if I don't have basil for the pesto?

You can use many different things to make homemade pesto other than basil. Here are some ideas:
  • spinach
  • kale
  • arugula
  • watercress
  • seaweed 

The taste will be slightly different with each option. But, it works quite well. Experiment until you find your favorite.

Tortellini Recipe in the Dutch oven

Should I use fresh or frozen tortellini?

You can use either fresh or frozen tortellini. I use frozen cheese tortellini for this tortellini recipe. But, if you want to use fresh pasta, it will work just as well.

Or, if you have time, you can make it from scratch.

There are also other types of tortellini you can try. While cheese tortellini is the most common (and my favorite), you can also use spinach and cheese tortellini, or even mushroom tortellini.

If you want a slightly different shape, consider cappelletti. Just look in the frozen section at the grocery store to see what types of frozen pasta are available in your area.

Or, if you just don't want tortellini at all, you can use your favorite type of pasta. Penne would work well in this recipe.

And, while the taste will be slightly different, I am sure it will still be delicious.

About the pesto

The type of pesto that you use to make chicken tortellini will make all the difference in the taste of your meal.

Always start with fresh ingredients for the best taste. Also, use the best quality olive oil you have available.

You can tailor the taste by adding parmesan cheese and even cream depending on the recipe you're making. Garlic is also another popular addition to pesto.

Tortellini Recipe in a serving bowl

Can you freeze chicken tortellini?

If you have leftovers, you can store them in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. If you want to store them for a longer period, you can freeze them for up to 6 months.

When you want to serve the leftovers, just transfer the container from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight.

Then, when you're ready to reheat it, place the chicken pesto in a pot with a bit of water.

Cook it on low heat until it is warmed through.

Stir it occasionally to prevent burning. You can add more pesto to the leftovers when you reheat it if you want to.


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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How to make Chicken Pesto Pasta (Tortellini Recipe) (video)

To watch us make this easy dinner recipe, check out the recipe video.

Yield: 6
Author: Donna Elick
Chicken Pesto Pasta

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Chicken Pesto Pasta is a quick, 10-minute dinner recipe. Chicken, tortellini, pesto and tomatoes burst with flavor in this scrumptious meal.

Prep time: 5 Minutes    Cook time: 5 Minutes   Total time: 10 Minutes


  • 1 (19 oz) bag frozen cheese tortellini
  • 12 oz precooked or leftover chicken
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto


  1. Place a 4 quart pot filled ⅔ full of water on a burner over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, add a small handful (a few Tbsp of salt to water). Add tortellini and cook until mostly cooked through (about 2-3 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile; wash tomatoes and cut each in half. Set aside. Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Drain tortellini and return to pot. Add chicken, tomatoes and pesto.
  3. Stir to combine. Serve and enjoy!
  1. If you have leftovers, you can store them in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. If you want to store them for a longer period, you can freeze them for up to 6 months. 

Chicken Pesto Pasta close up

Originally published January 2014, updated and republished September 2020

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1 comment:

  1. This dish looks so fresh and inviting...and only 10 minutes is MY kind of meal!


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