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Pesto Chicken and Tortellini Skillet

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1 (20 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
1 cup frozen baby peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 (9 ounce) package refrigerated basil pesto
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pesto Chicken and Tortellini Skillet

This delicious and colorful skillet meal is satisfying and simple to make.

  • Serves 4
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Skillet meals are some of the easiest recipes for dinner. All you need is a skillet, a stovetop, and some simple ingredients to make a fabulous entree in a hurry. This recipe for Pesto Chicken and Tortellini Skillet is a perfect example.

This wonderful and super easy main dish skillet recipe combines chicken, cheese tortellini, veggies, and pesto to make a fresh and delicious dinner. It only take about 30 minutes to make, start to finish.

You can use leftover cooked chicken, a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, or cook the chicken just for this recipe. I myself like to break down a few rotisserie chicken at once, then cube or shred the meat and freeze it for use in recipes just like this one.

Add some fresh fruit and a glass of iced tea for a super dinner that is perfect for busy weeknights. For dessert, make Crunchy Peanut Caramel Layered Brownies!

Tips for the best Pesto Chicken and Tortellini Skillet:

  • The easiest way to get cooked chicken is to buy a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and break it down. The meat is reliably tender and delicious and is always cooked perfectly.
  • When you “cook” frozen tortellini you’re really just thawing and heating it because it’s already cooked. So don’t let the pasta simmer too long in the water. It will finish heating up and cooking in the sauce.
  • I like refrigerated Buitoni pesto for this recipe. It stores well in the fridge and freezer, and is reliably good.

Why this recipe works:

  • The chicken and tortellini will absorb flavor from the pesto sauce as it cooks in the skillet.
  • Don’t cook the pasta in the cream and pesto mixture very long or the tortellini will overcook. Just a few minutes will do it.
  • The heavy cream adds richness and body to the sauce and coats the pasta.

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Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to package directions.


Meanwhile, put the peas into a colander into the sink. When the tortellini is cooked, drain over the peas. Set aside.


Add olive oil to a large skillet. Cook the onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook for another minute.


Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until hot.


Then add the pesto and cream to the skillet and stir until combined. Add the tortellini and peas and stir gently until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.


Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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