Once upon a time during my early years of teaching, I would prepare this recipe on a school night solely for the purpose of having leftovers to bring with me for lunch at school the next day. My first teaching teammate loved this dish, and I always brought enough to share with her. I visited my original “teacher wife” last week. The pasta dish came up during my visit, and she talked about how it is one of her grandson’s favorite meals. I had not thought about this recipe in years.
The dish is an easy weeknight meal, can be cooked in one pot, and works well reheated the next day. It is also a good alternative to one of my other favorite pasta dishes– Pasta with Pesto and Peas.
- 2 T. pine nuts, toasted
- 1 bunch of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces (~3 cups)
- 1 family sized package of cheese filled tortellini (~20 oz.)
- 1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. pepper
- 1 – 1 1/2 c. pesto (purchased or homemade)
- grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the broccoil and cook until crisp-tender, ~3-5 minutes. Remove broccoli from the water with a slotted spoon (save the broccoli water!) and drain in a colander. Set to the side.
- Return broccoli water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions. Drain well and set to the side.
- Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
- In the empty pot that cooked the broccoli and tortellini, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook through, ~3-4 minutes. Remove some of the excess cooking juice before continuing.
- Add the broccoli and tortellini to the chicken, tossing until heated through. Remove from heat and add the pesto to taste. Stir gently until the tortellini, chicken, and broccoli are coated with pesto.
- Garnish with pine nuts and grated Parmesan. Serve hot.
- Can be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave. It is a great teacher lunch or meal at the office.