Pasta Risotto & You

By Nancy Caivano


Tortellini with Sautéed Chicken
and Basil-Almond Pesto

Serves 6


4 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves (about 2 large bunches)
1 cup (loosely packed) parsley leaves (1 bunch)
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan), divided
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds
2/3 cup olive oil plus 3 tbsp, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
One lb fresh cheese tortellini (you can also use small cheese ravioli,
     but the fresh taste better than the frozen)
One lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
All purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)


Place basil, parsley, 2/3 cup Romano cheese, garlic and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. with processor running, pour in 2/3 cup olive oil in a thin stream, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing plastic wrap directly onto surface of pesto; chill. (Can be made a few days ahead).

Cook tortellini in a large pot of boiling, salted water until they float to the top and are al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour. Cook chicken until well browned on both sides, and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, dice.

Return drained tortellini to pot. Toss with 1 cup pesto, and combine well. Add chicken and combine. Add more pesto if desired and remaining Romano cheese. Toss well and serve immediately.

This recipe would be wonderful with sautéed shrimp instead of chicken. You can make the pesto ahead of time, and keep in refrigerator 2 weeks, covered well with plastic wrap, or you can freeze it in an airtight container.


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This page created March 1999