Skillet Tortellini with Chorizo and Asparagus

published Apr 11, 2023
Pantry Pasta
Skillet Tortellini with Chorizo and Asparagus Recipe

A one-pan dinner of cheese tortellini tossed with tender asparagus and smoky Spanish chorizo.

Serves4

Makes16 to 20 ounces

Prep10 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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Skillet tortellini with chorizo and asparagus
Credit: Kristina Vanni

Tortellini holds endless possibilities — they can be tossed simply with tomato sauce, turned into pasta salad, or stirred into soup. My favorite approach, however, is to treat them like Chinese potstickers and pan-fry them. They’re both dumplings, after all. 

Pan-frying fresh or frozen store-bought tortellini lets the pasta brown and crisp in spots before a splash of water finishes steam-cooking them to al dente perfection. This two-step method lends a deeper flavor and more interesting texture than simply cooking tortellini in a pot of boiling water. 

Perhaps the true win here is that you only need one skillet to prepare both the pasta and its sauce. Here, tender asparagus and smoky Spanish chorizo combine with the tortellini in a single pan for a simple and satisfying spring-inspired meal. 

Credit: Kristina Vanni

Spanish Chorizo Lends Smoke and Heat 

There are two kinds of chorizo: Spanish and Mexican. While both are equally delicious, each one is distinct. 

  • Spanish chorizo is a type of salami — a dried and cured sausage. It has a rich flavor and chewy texture. It’s made of chopped pork and pork fat and seasoned with smoked paprika, garlic, and other herbs and spices. It can be mild or spicy, although the most readily available version in grocery stores in the U.S. is somewhere between mild to medium-spiced. 
  • Mexican chorizo is a fresh sausage made typically from pork or beef that is seasoned with chiles and other herbs and spices. Because it’s a fresh meat product, it needs to be cooked first. 

Both types of chorizo lend big flavor to food, but in this recipe I opt for Spanish chorizo because it comes with the added perk of being shelf-stable. That means when I see it on sale at my local grocery store (you’ll find it in the specialty cheese section with the other salami), I stock up on a couple to slice for snacking or to dice up and add to sautéed vegetables, sheet pan dinners, and, of course, this seasonal supper.

Pantry Pasta is Sheela Prakash‘s monthly column of easy, accessible pasta recipes. You’ll discover a new, inspired recipe each month that takes advantage of grocery staples and highlights one pantry hero. Follow along and grab all the recipes here.

Skillet Tortellini with Chorizo and Asparagus Recipe

A one-pan dinner of cheese tortellini tossed with tender asparagus and smoky Spanish chorizo.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Makes 16 to 20 ounces

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    asparagus

  • 6 ounces

    dried Spanish chorizo

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 2 (8 to 9-ounce) packages

    fresh cheese tortellini, or 1 (16- to 20-ounce) bag frozen cheese tortellini (do not thaw)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    water

  • 2 teaspoons

    sherry vinegar

  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Trim the ends from 1 pound asparagus, then cut crosswise on a slight diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Trim the ends from 6 ounces dried Spanish chorizo. Remove and discard the casing, then dice (about 1 cup). Mince 4 garlic cloves.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the asparagus and chorizo, and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Sauté until the asparagus is bright green but not yet tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add 16 to 20 ounces cheese tortellini and arrange in an even layer. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned in spots, 4 to 8 minutes.

  4. Return the asparagus and chorizo to the pan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir with a wooden spoon to combine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover with a lid or baking sheet and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan occasionally, until the tortellini is tender and glossy and almost all of the water has evaporated, 3 to 6 minutes.

  5. Remove the pan from the heat. Add 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar and stir to combine. Taste and season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.