This creamy tomato tortellini recipe is so easy to make in one pan for a fast and comforting weeknight dinner with barely any clean-up!
Don't have any tortellini on hand? Try my Super Easy Creamy Tomato Pasta instead.
Why you'll love it
I can't resist a silky tomato sauce for pasta from scratch. It's just so cozy and is the epitome of a homecooked meal that just feels special and like it came from a restaurant. Pairing it with cheesy tortellini makes it as delicious as it is simple to throw together!
This tortellini with a tomato cream sauce is definitely going to be a winner with the kids as well. Sometimes the most basic recipes are the most satisfying, especially for picky eaters, and with this one you'll never have a reason to open up a jar of store-bought pasta sauce ever again.
Ingredients for it
- Cheese tortellini - I used the refrigerated kind, not the dry kind found in the pasta aisle, to make this a one pan meal. If using the dry kind, boil it first separately and cook the sauce a bit longer prior to adding the tortellini so it thickens up.
- Butter - for sautéing
- Garlic - if you're a garlic lover, add some more. I like to use my handy garlic press to mince it since you don't even need to peel the cloves.
- Tomato paste - to add lots of concentrated tomato flavor and richness
- Tomato sauce - for my UK readers, tomato sauce is similar to passata
- Heavy cream - it gives the sauce a luxurious restaurant-worthy quality
- Italian seasoning - this is my go-to dried herb blend for sauces since it's just so tasty and conveniently in a single jar!
- Parmesan cheese - definitely recommended to take it over the top. I always grate mine from a block with my Microplane for ultimate freshness and texture.
How to make creamy tomato tortellini
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- In a deep skillet, sauté the garlic in the butter for about a minute, then stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, cream, and Italian seasoning. Whisk until you've got a smooth sauce.
- Stir in the tortellini, and then cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Test to see if the pasta is done, and cook it for a little longer if needed.
- Season with salt & pepper and enjoy with some freshly parmesan grated over top. That's it!
Substitutions and variations
- I don't recommend subbing the cream with something that has a lower fat content (e.g. half-and-half or milk) as it may curdle due to the acid in the tomatoes. You could try coconut milk for a dairy-free option, but I have not tested it.
- This is a fairly basic recipe, so you can definitely play with it! Adding in some fresh herbs like basil would work especially well, for example, or change up the variety of tortellini.
- The sauce thickens up quite quickly as the tortellini cook and release their starch. If the sauce gets too thick at any point, add in a bit more cream or some chicken or vegetable broth to thin it out.
- An old chef's trick is to add a pinch of sugar to tomato sauces to cut the acidity. It balances it out without making it sweet. Feel free to do that here if your sauce is a bit too acidic for your tastes!
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers of this tortellini recipe will keep just fine in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Simply reheat in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, over a low heat until warmed through. You can also microwave it in 30-second increments.
- I wouldn't suggest freezing this one. Dairy generally won't hold up after thawing.
Questions about this easy tortellini recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
Creamy Tomato Tortellini
- 2 (9 ounce) packages refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (14 fluid ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving, to taste
- Add the butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once it melts, add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, stirring constantly.
- Add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, cream, and Italian seasoning. Stir/whisk until it's nice and smooth.
- Stir in the tortellini (no need to boil it first). Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
- If the tortellini is still a little firm, continue cooking it for another few minutes (stoves and pans vary). If needed, increase the heat a bit. If the sauce thickens/reduces too much (the pasta releases starch, thickening the sauce as it cooks), add another splash of cream or a little chicken/veg broth.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed (I'm fairly generous with both).
- Serve immediately with plenty of parmesan cheese grated over top.
- I don't recommend subbing the cream with something that has a lower fat content as it may curdle due to the acid in the tomatoes.
- Since this is a one pan meal and the tortellini isn't cooked ahead of time, be sure to use the refrigerated variety of tortellini... not the dry stuff found in the pasta aisle.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.