An easy, delicious recipe for Cheese Tortellini in a simple garlic butter sauce with basil. Keep it warm in a crockpot for a party appetizer, or serve up in a big bowl for a comforting weeknight meal in 15 minutes or less.

Cheese tortellini on a round plate.

Ingredient notes:

Cheese tortellini: Your favorite brand. It can be handmade, or store-bought. Fresh, frozen, or even dried. Tortellini are small and compact, easy to grab with a fork, and hold up well in the cooking water.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Set aside 1 ½ cups of broth in a small bowl and whisk the cornstarch into it. Heat the remaining broth in a saucepan until boiling.
  2. Add tortellini and cook until the tortellini floats to the top of the water and the internal temperature of a tortellini is 160 degrees. Gently drain and set aside.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it foams. Add the garlic and dried basil and stir for 2 minutes to sauté the garlic.
  4. Then add the broth and cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the mixture thickens, only 1 or 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the al dente tortellini and toss in the garlic butter mixture to coat every piece. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

 

Cheese tortellini being poured into a silver pan with sauce in it.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Yield: 16 ounces of pasta should feed 4 people.
  • Make ahead: This recipe is best made when you plan to serve it, even though the leftovers are delicious. But if you want to pre-cook a larger amount of tortellini so you can replenish a buffet, toss the pasta lightly in olive oil after it’s drained, which will keep it from drying out. Then simmer the sauce and combine the two as you need more.
  • Using water: Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil for each pound of tortellini you plan to cook. Add salt if desired; I like 1 tablespoon salt/quart if I’m using water. (I do not add salt if I’m cooking in broth.)
  • Tortelloni vs tortellini: Both types of stuffed pasta have the same basic shape. However, tortellini are smaller (generally about 2 grams each) and tortelloni are larger (generally about 5 grams each).
  • Leftovers: Cooked pasta, in general, keeps 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. This recipe should be consumed within that time frame as well (and the leftovers are excellent.)
  • Low sodium: Although I typically purchase low-sodium chicken broth and unsalted butter, this particular recipe tasted a little off when I tested with those ingredients. So, in this one instance I do not recommend the low-sodium options.  If that’s what you have, just add a little salt to the finished dish until it tastes perfect.
  • Tortellini cooking times: 2 to 3 minutes for refrigerated (soft) tortellini, 3 to 5 minutes for frozen tortellini, and 10 to 11 minutes for dried tortellini. Signs of doneness are when the pasta floats to the surface of the water, and has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Spinach: A handful or two of baby spinach added to the pasta in the pan couldn’t hurt, especially if you want to up your leafy greens.

Cheese tortellini on a white round plate.

More fantastically simple pasta recipes:

 

Cheese tortellini on a white plate.

Cheese Tortellini in Garlic Butter Sauce Recipe

An easy, delicious recipe for Cheese Tortellini in garlic butter sauce. Whether you want a hot appetizer for a party or a tasty, comforting weeknight meal option, double the batch because everyone is going to love it! Use refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini; either way, it's ready in 15 minutes or less!
4.97 from 106 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 508

Ingredients 

  • 32 ounces chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini (see notes)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh basil for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • In a large pot, bring 2 ½ cups broth to a boil. Add cheese tortellini. Return to a boil and cook until the tortellini float to the top of the water, about 3 minutes. The internal temperature of a tortellini should be 165ºF. Drain completely.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1 ½ cups broth with corn starch. In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in garlic and basil and cook 2 minutes.
  • Add broth-cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil; simmer until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes longer. Add the cooked tortellini to the skillet and toss to coat.
  • Pour into a serving dish and garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. To make this dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  2. Refrigerated tortellini can be substituted; it will float in 2 to 3 minutes. If you want to use dried tortellini, follow the instructions on the package (should be about 10 to 11 minutes).
  3. Serves 8 as an appetizer or first course (2 ounces per person, 275 calories per serving). Keep warm in a slow cooker if serving a buffet.

Nutrition

Calories: 508kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 21gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1523mgPotassium: 195mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 399IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 265mgIron: 4mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

    1. Hi Jenna, it should thicken in 1-2 minutes. If it’s not thickening up, your pan might need to be hotter. I hope this helps! I hope it works for you! Thanks for your question.

  1. Hi Meghan! I just tried this recipe and wow! I just wouldn’t have thought to cook the torts in chicken broth! And I do think of things like! I used fresh basil cause that’s what I had then saw the chopped tomato basil olive oil veg from last night so I added them to the garlic butter basil sauce, chopping the tomatoes very small then added the sauce to the torts in broth pan and super wow! You are so right about the flavors! Thank you so much for the recipe!5 stars

    1. Hi Rosalie! The chopped tomatoes sound AMAZING! I’m so glad you tried the recipe and loved it. :) Makes my heart sing! Take care and thanks so much!

  2. I love this recipe. It is quick, easy, and tasty. I think it comes out perfect each time. I have tried making this recipe with a combination of different filled tortellini. I have used cheese and Italian sausage and I have just made half cheese tortellini and half beef tortellini.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Danielle! This is one of my favorites. It always tastes so good, I cannot stop eating. I will definitely have to try meat-filled ravioli sometime, I’ve only ever done the cheese. But sausage in particular sounds awesome. :) Thanks again!

  3. I was wondering about the chicken stock you make the totellini in. Instead of draining the stock couldnt you remove the tortellini out and use the stock for the garlic sauce?5 stars

    1. Hi Dawn, YES. Yes you could, and you should. I am going to re-write the recipe to do that. The only thing I was going for with using separate broth is a time-savings because you can start the sauce while the tortellini is still cooking. But, I think saving on chicken broth is the better idea. Thank you so much for this suggestion! It’s a brilliant idea and I wonder how I never thought of that. :)

  4. This was delicious!! To save time during clean-up, I cooked and drained the tortellini, and then used the same pot to make the sauce. It came out great!5 stars

    1. Hi Deborah, that is a great idea (using just one pot). I will update the recipe to reflect your genius! Thank you so much. :D Most importantly, glad you liked it!

  5. Great recipe but since I only had a 12 oz pkg of dried tortellini that’s what I used.  However 2-1/2 cups of broth isn’t near enough liquid to cook the pasta.  I had to add another 2 cups.

    1. Hi Pat! Sorry about that, I have always used 2 1/2 cups of broth to cook this, but I’ll retest. I know I never used the same ratio as I would for cooking regular pasta because the tortellini only takes a couple of minutes to float. But, I’ll take a look! Sorry again, and thanks.

    2. I would recommend using a chicken bouillon cube in enough boiling water. That way you can fill your bot with enough liquid to ensure a good cook. Then you only need a small can of broth or stock to make the sauce with.5 stars

    3. That’s a great tip, Jerry! Good cost savings. Thanks. If you try the tortellini, I hope you love it!

    1. Thank you so much, Christin! I could eat the entire batch of tortellini myself, I swear. I’m obsessed. Have a great weekend!

  6. I always have tortellini in the freezer because they make the perfect quick meal on those days when I just can’t go to the store and I need my ’emergency food dinner’. This dish would make a perfect emergency food dinner because you can keep all the ingredients in the  freezer, pantry and fridge at all times. 5 stars

  7. Meggan!
    All of my best memories are intertwined with food too!! Don’t you just love that? and now that I have kids, they already know all the baking and eating we will be doing over the holidays. .  hoping these become great memories for them! haha, the power of good food. I’ve never thought of it that way but I know what you mean! When I first moved to Seattle, food and cooking was how I connected with friends there! I love this cheese tortellini recipe! I could eat this all day, everyday! Keep in touch!! and thanks for the sweet email! :) 5 stars