One-Pot Pesto Tortellini with Broccoli

published May 25, 2020
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One-Pot Pesto Tortellini with Broccoli

Here, a few smart cooking tricks elevate just 3 ingredients into a spectacular one-pot meal that really, truly wows.

Serves4 to 6

Prep5 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Credit: Amelia Rampe

Let’s be real: Anyone can mix together pasta, pesto, and a veggie. But this dish is so much more than that. Here, super-smart cooking tricks elevate a few shortcut ingredients into a spectacular one-pot meal that really, truly wows. It’s a lesson in making what you have work hard for you — something we can all appreciate right now.

The first trick? Blanching. Quickly blanching the broccoli (or asparagus, if you’re looking for a more summery vibe) in salted boiling water gives it the perfect tender-crisp texture, enhances its vibrant green color, and seasons it from the inside out. Run the blanched veggies under cool water to stop the cooking process, then set them aside while you cook the pasta.

You’ll cook the pasta in the same pot of salted blanching liquid, but right before you drain it, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. When combined with the pesto (in the now-empty pot), the pasta water helps create a creamy, starchy sauce that clings to the tortellini. After stirring in the broccoli, give it a taste and add more salt, pesto, or cooking water, as needed. Then top with Parmesan and dig right in. And because you only dirtied one pot, go ahead and leave the dishes for the morning.

One-Pot Pesto Tortellini with Broccoli

Here, a few smart cooking tricks elevate just 3 ingredients into a spectacular one-pot meal that really, truly wows.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 pound

    broccoli

  • 2 (about 9-ounce) packages

    fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, or 1 (about 20-ounce) package

  • 3 tablespoons

    basil pesto, plus more as needed

  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Meanwhile, trim the stalks from 1 pound broccoli, then cut the florets into 1/2-inch pieces.

  2. Blanch the florets in the water until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cool water. Bring the broccoli water back to a boil, add 2 (about 9-ounce) packages cheese tortellini, and cook for 2 minutes less than package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the tortellini.

  3. Place 3 tablespoons basil pesto and 3 tablespoons pasta water in the now-empty pot over low heat. Add the tortellini and broccoli and gently toss to coat until warm through, adding more pesto or pasta water as needed for the desired sauce consistency. Taste and season with kosher salt as needed. Garnish with grated Parmesan if desired.