Basil is one of my all time favorite herbs to grow in the garden. As long as it gets plenty of sun and water I am left with more basil than I know what to do with! I have yet to discover a single pest that eats it and other than a sensitivity to cold, it is extremely hardy. So, what does one do with an abundance of basil? You can make pesto or add it to a fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich but this basil cream sauce is simple to make and can be used in an assortment of easy dinner recipes. I like to buy the fresh tortellini from the grocery store for nights when I am in a hurry and don’t have time to cook 100% from scratch. This recipe will be even easier if you have leftover chicken or broccoli sitting in the fridge. Even if you don’t, you can make this dish from start to finish in less than thirty minutes. It is filling, flavorful and incredibly easy!
Chicken and Broccoli Tortellini in Basil Cream Sauce
- 1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bit sized pieces
- 1 small head broccoli. Cut off crowns and cut into bite sized pieces.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1½ cups fresh basil
- ¼ cup olive oil (or less!), divided
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- pinch salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- To make the sauce: In a food processor, pack basil leaves and garlic. Process on high, adding just enough olive oil to puree the basil. Into a small pot, combine the heavy cream, pureed basil mixture, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Heat on medium low, stirring occasionally until smooth.
- Steam the broccoli to desired texture. 3 to 5 minutes should leave it fairly firm still, which is what I prefer.
- In a large saute pan, heat 1 to 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until no pink remains.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked tortellini, chicken and broccoli. Pour sauce over the top and mix until combined.