This summer my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary by going to one of our favorite upscale-restaurants The Miro Bistro. I am never disappointed with the food when I go there, and I always feel like I'm indulging my taste-buds in an extravagant tasting experience. As we were leaving the restaurant, about 3 tables had ordered the same pasta dish: all containing fresh basil. The smell wafted into the air and up my nostrils, and even though I was utterly stuffed from the appetizer, main course and dessert I had just consumed, I had an overwhelming craving for a pasta sauce filled with fresh basil. I started concocting recipes in my mind - I had a bunch of fresh tomatoes from my Dad's garden, a bit of whipping cream and some onions and garlic. I figured this HAD to be a winning combination.
It was everything I was hoping it would be AND more. We don't often repeat meals close together, but this is so good we've had it 4 times in the last 2 months. Every time I have a handful of fresh tomatoes my mind wanders to the creamy delight of this rose sauce...and of course the peppery fresh basil.
8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on (you can also sub in chicken legs if that's what you have on hand)
4-5 very ripe tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup chicken broth
Fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
Salt and pepper
½-1 cup heavy cream
Lots of Fresh basil
1 pkg fresh cheese or beef filled tortellini*
Put on large pot of boiling salted water for tortellini.
Heat a pan over med-high heat with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Get out a bowl and put about 1/2 cup of flour in it, and then dredge the chicken in the flour and place in pan. Turn when golden brown. Let other side get golden brown and then remove from pan. (You don't have to worry about the chicken being cooked all the way through, because it will cook some more in the sauce.) Drain the oil except for about a tablespoon.
Add the chopped onions to the pan and turn heat to medium. Sauté for a few minutes, then add garlic. Sauté for another minute or two then add deseeded chopped tomatoes, and oregano. Let come up to a boil then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer. Add a bit of chicken broth to make it more of a sauce and add chicken back to the pan so they can finish cooking. Put on the lid and let sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
Add tortellini to boiling water.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and add the sauce to a food processor. (You don't have to do this step, but I like a nice velvety smooth sauce so I do. If you like chunks, then skip this step.) Process until it becomes a sauce. Pour back into the pan and pour in heavy cream to blush the sauce. Add a good amount of chopped fresh basil. Taste to see if it needs salt and pepper (or more basil :). When tortellini is done drain and add to the sauce.
Plate the chicken with the saucy tortellini and add fresh basil to garnish. Sautéed spinach is a nice accompaniment to this dish. Delicious!
Click here for printable version of Chicken & Tortellini in Rose Sauce with Fresh Basil
What can I say? It's probably one of my favorite meals I have created. My husband loves it, my 14 month old couldn't get enough, and we all roll away happy from the dinner table.
*I am a huge tortellini snob. I've tried the "store-brands" of tortellini and to me they always have this weird funky flavor. I once had to throw out an entire package of cheese tortellini because the flavor was so disgusting to me. And I would NEVER buy dried tortellini...that's just gross. I'm all about fresh Olivieri Tortellini...so that's what I recommend that you get.
But if you aren't a tortellini snob like me then just get whatever your family likes ;)