Creamy Tuscan Tortellini
Creamy Tuscan tortellini are flavorful, quick, and super simple! One pan and 20 minutes transform store-bought tortellini into a gourmet meal with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and cream.
There’s a lot to love about this, friends. Let’s sum it up this way: maximum flavor, minimum effort.
This recipe for creamy Tuscan tortellini is a delicious meatless riff on one of my most popular posts, Tuscan chicken. You’ll find many of the same flavors: garlic, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan, for starters. Add tortellini and a luscious cream sauce to pull it all together? Hooo boy, that’s where the magic happens.
Best of all, this filling meal is ready in just 20 minutes, and everything cooks together in one pan. That’s right – no separate pasta pot, no strainer, no sad sink full of dishes.
Needless to say, this has already been added to our regular dinner rotation, especially since it fits my desire to eat more vegetarian mains.
Ingredients and shopping tips
Here’s what you’ll need to make this creamy Tuscan tortellini. Follow the full recipe below for detailed amounts and instructions.
- Fresh tortellini – roughly 18 ounces, filled with cheese, spinach, or anything else you like. Be sure to buy fresh, not dried, or the cooking time will be off. Fresh tortellini will be sold in a refrigerated case, often near cheese and other dairy products. As a bonus, they keep well and can be stored in the freezer for a rainy day.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – I prefer making this with the type of sun-dried tomatoes that are sold dried, rather than those packed in oil, mostly because they’re easier to work with and allow you to control the consistency of the sauce. You can buy them either in halves or julienned, which just means cut into small, thin strips. They’re often sold with the salad fixings or in the produce department.
- Fresh baby spinach – a few handfuls.
- Heavy cream – you can swap half and half or even whole milk, though the sauce will be noticeably thinner.
- Lemon juice – you just need a squeeze but don’t skip it; a little tang brightens and brings all the flavors to life!
- Chicken or vegetable broth.
- Parmesan cheese.
- Olive oil and butter.
- Minced fresh garlic.
- Seasoning – red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, black pepper.
- Fresh basil – optional but a nice garnish if you have it on hand.
How to make it
Unlike most pasta recipes, you won’t start by boiling a pot of water, because the tortellini cook in the sauce!
Remember to use a pan with a lid! I have been using and loving this one; it seems to be the right size for everything, cooks very evenly, and is easy to clean. It’s an investment for sure, but if you’re ready to up your cooking game, quality equipment sets you up for success!
To make this Tuscan tortellini, you’ll simply:
- Sauté a bit of garlic and red pepper in olive oil and butter.
- Stir in broth, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
- Add cream and tortellini, then cover and cook. Be sure the heat is on medium-low for this step, and cook just until the tortellini are tender; otherwise the cream sauce may separate.
- Remove the lid and stir in spinach, cheese, and lemon juice. The spinach will wilt quickly while the other flavors meld and, voila – dinner is served!
What to serve with it
- Arugula or spinach salad, or greens with a simple Italian dressing
- Roasted broccolini
- Bruschetta or crackers with olive spread
- Garlic bread – a must for soaking up the amazing cream sauce!
Creamy Tuscan Tortellini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes see note
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 6-8 cranks of freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 18-20 ounces fresh cheese or spinach-filled tortellini
- 2 generous handfuls fresh baby spinach roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh basil slivered, optional, for garnish
- Add the olive oil and butter to a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
- Add the broth, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the cream, followed by the tortellini. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes, then check the tortellini. If they’re not tender, return the lid and cook for 30-60 seconds more, but take care not to cook too long, or the sauce will separate. If you’re on the fence, go ahead and proceed with the next step.
- Remove the lid, reduce heat again to low, and stir in spinach, Parmesan, and lemon juice. Let spinach wilt for about 1 minute. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Serve right away with additional Parmesan or fresh slivered basil.
- I prefer the sun-dried tomatoes that are sold dried, rather than those packed in oil. You can buy them either in halves or julienned, which just means cut into small, thin strips. They’re often sold with the salad fixings or in the produce department.
- Don’t worry if the sauce does separate – it still tastes wonderful, it just won’t appear quite so “creamy.”