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!
What to serve with this recipe
- I'm a big fan of serving any pasta with a big slice of Extra Cheesy Garlic Bread.
- If you'd like to pair it with a salad, try some mixed greens with this simple Italian dressing, or this Arugula Salad with Fennel and Cheese is a slightly fancier option.
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.
Casey Smith says
A new family favorite!! I added Italian sausage to the sauce to add a yummy protein. It was so fast and super simple. This is definitely a new one for the rotation.
Yay!! I'm thrilled to hear that. Thanks, Casey!
This is a really great recipe!
It worked well with dried tortellini as well, i just boiled to almost finished before putting them in the sauce.
I'm so glad you liked it!!
I love this recipe, it was delicious! Kept thinking about making adding meat to the sauce, instead I used Italian Sausage Tortellini which made it all the more delicious. The sauce was plenty even though I used a 20oz package of tortellini. I added extra cream to sauce during cooking which seemed to cut the acidity of the tomato sauce. This is now one of my go to pasta recipes.
I'm so glad it's a hit for you, Karla! Thanks for your detailed review. 🙂
Made this dish today with my favorite Italian sausage Tortellini, this time I added green peas and two shallots. Delicious as always.
When you mention tomato sauce, is pasta sauce such as marinara ok (I know silly question but one has all the added ingredients such as seasonings etc) vs puréed tomato only.
Hi! You could for sure use marinara if that's all you've got on hand. The consistency is similar, so I think that should work just fine. Yeah, there is more flavor, but I don't think that would be a bad thing. Usually jarred marinara is fairly mild, so it shouldn't clash with other ingredients. Let me know how it goes!
I have 2 costco size packages of Olivieri tortellini. Each pack is 750 grams. Do you think doubling the recipe is enough sauce?
So, my recipe calls for 18 ounces of tortellini, which works out to 510 grams. I'm a bit concerned that if you do both packs, even with doubling the sauce, it may not be enough. That is a lot of tortellini, and it might be a bit tricky if you try to do the one pan method with that much. You could try and watch it very closely and add more liquid as needed (possibly a splash more cream or some broth).
So I made it and it turned out amazing. I made 2 1/2 of the sauce so doubled it and and also made 1/2 more if that makes sense!! Turned out amazing and I was still able to make it all in one pot. The only changes I made was to add a teeny bit of sugar as I used crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce and I added one chicken boullion. Absolutely amazing, so easy and delicious. Thank you so much!!
I'm so pleased to hear it! You're very welcome. Thanks for the update! 🙂
Made this and it was amazing! I used the spinach/cheese tortellini as that is what I had on hand. My husband can’t usually tolerate tomato sauces but the cream cut the acidity and he had no heartburn! I did add fresh basil from my garden and thin sliced chicken and roasted red pepper sausage at the end. The recipe is amazing the way it is but my husband works out and needs the extra calories and protein. This recipe is amazing for a quick weeknight dinner!
I'm so glad that your husband enjoyed it too!! 🙂 It's definitely easy to tweak... I'm happy it worked out for you guys.
Jess Taylor says
So good! My husband, hard to please with new recipes, loved it! What brand of tortellini do you buy? Thanks!
That's fantastic!! Thanks for letting me know. So, I'm in Canada, and brands tend to vary from USA for tortellini. My favorite is probably Olivieri.